Published March 23, 2012
A metal object the size of a Volkswagen Beetle has been discovered near a remote village in Siberia. Local residents presumed it recently fell to Earth from space, but officials from Russia's space agency examined the object and said it "is not related to space technology."
Locals discovered the roughly 200-kilogram (440 pounds) object, which is cylindrical and capped on one end by a ridged dome, March 18 in the forest near the village of Otradnesnky. They attached the "UFO fragment" (as media outlets have called it) to a trailer and dragged it through the snow to their village. They then alerted Moscow authorities, according to a report in Britain's The Telegraph, and the object was confiscated for inspection.
Following the initial examination, an official for Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, reportedly said: "The object found is not related to space technology. A final conclusion can be made after a detailed study of the object by experts."
Part of the fragment is made of titanium, according to district officials. Additional tests showed it was not radioactive.
Nick Johnson, head of NASA's orbital debris office, said there isn't sufficient information about the object for him to make a full assessment, but it doesn't appear to be part of a spacecraft.
"The object almost certainly is not related to a spacecraft," Johnson told Life's Little Mysteries. "It also does not look like part of a launch vehicle which has fallen from orbit. However, we cannot be definitive in our judgment without better photos and other data. For example, the date the object fell is vitally important, but I did not see reference to it."
It is also unclear whether the object really did fall from space or got lost in the woods by some other route.
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