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Space Station Evacuated as Mysterious Object Approaches

For just the fourth time in the 16-year history of the International Space station, the crew was forced to hurriedly evacuate the main compartment and huddle in the Soyuz space capsule docked at the ISS for emergency escapes. Why? A mysterious object came flying at the ISS at a speed too fast to move it out of the way in time. Later, NASA said it was a “close pass” by a piece of an old Russian weather satellite. Skeptics found videos implying it may have been a UFO. Switzerland made a timely announcement about its new Pac-Man space junk gobbler. What’s the real story?

Astronaut Scott Kelly inside a Soyuz capsule

Astronaut Scott Kelly inside a Soyuz capsule

The object was spotted approaching the ISS on June 16 near midnight GMT. Traveling at eight miles per second, NASA estimated that the crew had less than 90 minutes to move the ISS out of its possible path and opted to evacuate them to the Soyuz capsule. They stayed there for about ten minutes until the object passed by without impact at 12:01am GMT. A statement said it was a debris from the Soviet-era meteorological satellite, Meteor-2, launched in 1979.

Would you like to see the object on video? Like many space anomalies at the ISS, there’s no video of this close encounter, not even a fuzzy one that mysteriously cuts out just when the good stuff starts. Is NASA trying to hide what the object may have really been?

This video is allegedly from a NASA site and is said to be the space station tracking two high-speed UFOs on July 16th, sometime before the emergency evacuation. Are they related? There’s no word from NASA.

If it indeed was space junk, Switzerland may have a solution to prevent future evacuations. Called the Clean Space One project, engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have developed a “Pac-Man”-style space cleanup device that will open its net-like mouth, gobble up the debris, trap it inside and then drop into the atmosphere, incinerating itself and the space junk. They plan to launch it in 2018 to capture an old SwissCube satellite.

Clean Space One gobbling space junk

Clean Space One gobbling space junk

Was the mysterious evacuation-triggering object really Russian space debris? Was it a UFO or something else? Where’s the video? Should the ISS have a space Pac-Man docked next to the Soyuz capsule?

What do you think?

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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