Mysterious metal cylinder lands in Siberian town: Is it from space?

Eric Pfeiffer

The audio portion of this video may be difficult to hear, but the subject is compelling. A large, cylindrical object was caught on camera after it reportedly crashed into a tiny Siberian village. RT.com says Russian media outlets are calling the object a piece of "space debris" while other people think it might be the fuel tank of a ballistic missile.

The Russian Federal Space Agency says it's neither from space nor a rocket. At the same time, they admit they cannot verify exactly what the object is until they've had a chance to examine it more closely. If the video is authentic, is does appear to be a bit too large to be fuel tank of an Iskander or Tochka missile, two of the more common surface-to-surface missiles used by the Russian military.

Still, it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility to think the mysterious object might be a piece of space debris that has fallen back to Earth. NASA estimates there are about 20,000 pieces of space debris currently in Earth's orbit, nearly all of which are capable of falling back to our planet's surface at some point. Rocket casings, broken satellites and debris jettisoned from spacecraft make up the bulk of this orbiting debris.

Even the smallest piece of fast-traveling space debris, as tiny as four inches wide, can be dangerous. Last year, Space.com reported that the astronauts aboard the International Space Station were prepared to evacuate when a piece of space debris nearly collided with the station.

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