What Is This Odd Space Junk?

Our planet is surrounded by trash, but none quite like this.

A strange piece of space junk has been spotted on a collision course with our planet—only NASA has no idea exactly what it is. A 3- to 6-foot-long piece of man-made debris, it’s expected to land somewhere in the Indian Ocean off of Sri Lanka, or, more likely, burn up in the atmosphere.

NASA notes we have more than half a million pieces of debris kicking around Earth’s orbit, some traveling at speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour. First glimpsed in October, WT1190F, as the object is called, could be a spent rocket stage or panelling shed by a recent moon mission, or could even go back as far as the Apollo era.

Read more about WT1190F at Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy Blog