The Only Person In the World Ever To Get Hit By Space Junk



In January, 1997 Lottie Williams was strolling through a park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her friends around 3:30 a.m., when a dashing fireball appeared over the sky. Moments later, Williams was hit in the shoulder by a small piece of fabric-like metal that weighed as much as an empty soda can. No serious injury occurred, but eventually it was proven that she was actually hit by a piece of space debris. First curious, but then fearful, Williams took the piece of space junk to her local library, before being directed to the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at Tulsa University, which confirmed that the debris had, indeed, come from outer space. Analysis confirmed that the piece of blackened, woven material was part of the fuel tank of a Delta II rocket that had launched an Air Force satellite in 1996. So what would happen if a person got hit by debris from a defunct satellite? NASA says there’s a 1-in-3,200 chance that someone could get hurt. NASA is currently considering the development of a high-powered laser capable of shooting down space debris from orbit.