An unidentified metal sphere has plunged from the sky on unsuspecting villagers in northern Brazil, causing an uproar. According to eyewitnesses, the UFO weighs about 50 kilograms and measures roughly one meter in diameter.
The sphere fell on Wednesday in a village of Riacho dos Poços in Brazilian Maranhão state. No casualties were reported apart from an unfortunate cashew tree that was severed by the object as it plunged to the ground, according to MR Notícias, a Mata Roma news site.
Valdir José Mendes, 46, told police the sphere landed several meters from his house leaving a one-meter-deep hole in the yard.
"I heard the noise and I went out to see what caused it. I thought it was a plane that had fallen, or an earthquake," he said.
The noise was such that Mendes was too scared to go outside. However, curiosity got the better of him and he headed outside to find the cashew tree’s trunk snapped in half by a mysterious metal sphere lying in a hole nearby.
Some 20 villagers joined Mendes to help him extract the object from the ground and examine it. Mendes says the sphere is hollow and if shaken some sort of liquid can be felt swishing inside. Locals quickly spread the news, as they reached the town of Mata Roma over 2,000 people flocked to see the “UFO”.
"It was a huge uproar here. Some feared it was the beginning of the 2012 end of the world, others said it was ‘alien’, but I think it is a piece of satellite," said Max Garreto Mauro, 25, a resident of Mata Roma.
Peter Costa, the meteorologist at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), agrees with Garetto, saying the object would probably be part of a satellite. "I'm sure this is not a weather balloon or part of it," he said as quoted by O Imparcia.
Military police confiscated the sphere and took it to the barracks in the nearby Mata Roma. They have not specified what the UFO’s possible future will be. In a statement the Air Force Command said it "does not have specialized structures to perform scientific research on this type of aerial phenomena, which prevents the institution to submit an opinion on these events."
Mind your head!
In December 2011, a similar incident happened in Namibia, where a metal “Teletubby head” weighing 5.9 kilograms and measuring 35 centimeters in diameter hit the ground in the village of Omanatunga. Some Russian specialists believe the “head” was part of the third stage of the Soyuz-U rocket, launched on October 30.
Space debris stories made the headlines throughout 2011. In January, media chased the infamous Russian Mars probe Phobos-Grunt across five oceans to keep up with Russia’s space agency, constantly changing the possible impact location.
Earlier in October, the German Roentgen satellite split into 30 chunks, one of which weighed 400 kilograms, but those globs eventually made their way in to the Indian Ocean.
In September 2011, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite made headlines when it threatened to fall right onto Britain but eventually collapsed into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean.