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23 December 2011

Metal ball from space falls in Omusati Region of Namibia

Image: A handout photo provided by the National Forensic Science Institute shows a giant metallic ball of 1,1 metre in diameter weighing some 6 kilograms that fell out of the sky on a remote grassland in Namibia, prompting baffled authorities to contact NASA and the European space agency (ESA).

AN as-yet-unidentified metallic ball was discovered in the Omusati Region last month, but officials at the National Forensic Science Institute are at a loss as to where it came from or what its purpose is.

National Forensic Science Institute director Paul Ludik was quick to dispel any speculation that the spherical object could be extra-terrestrial, saying that it is made of a metal alloy which, although a “sophisticated material”, is known to man.

The sphere, which weighs just over 6 kg and has a circumference of 110 centimetres, landed near Onamatunga sometime between November 15 and November 20.

According to witnesses in the area, loud explosions were heard before the sphere was found by a farmer, who notified the police.

Ludik said Police officers found the sphere approximately 18 metres from the impact crater it had made when it landed on earth, and added that the surrounding area had been searched but no other similar objects were found.

Ludik said despite reports of a loud explosion, no evidence of conventional explosion could be found on the ground at or near the crater.

Ludik explained that the explosions could have been caused by a ‘sonic boom’ as the object broke the sound barrier upon returning to earth.

Another explanation for the explosion could have been the noise created by the impact of the object when it landed.

The sphere is currently in the possession of the police, who are still examining it. According to Ludik the object has no markings on it, which makes it harder to identify what its intended is or where it came from.

“A number of tests have been performed on the object, and it appears to be hollow. We are still busy with a detailed examination of the object.”

According to Ludik the object appears to be made of a “metallic compound normally used in space vehicles,” but he dismissed suggestions that the object was part of an unidentified flying object (UFO).

Ludik added that he would be surprised if it was determined that the round object was part of a conventional aircraft.

Ludik did however say that the object poses no danger of exploding, and chances of it posing any radioactive or bio-hazardous danger are believed to be zero.

“We have been in contact with a number of stakeholders and will also contact others as necessary,” Ludik said when asked whether space agencies such as NASA had been contacted.
He said space agencies don’t often acknowledge it when parts of satellites break off and return to earth, adding that no such agency is owning up for the sphere.

Ludik said the public should not be worried about the incident, as reports of similar incidents happening in the SADC region, South America and Australia are relatively common.

- Namibian