On November 13, a yet to be identified flying object will crash into the Indian Ocean, some 65 kilometers off the south coast of Sri Lanka – close to the an area between Galle and Hambantota port.
And, perhaps, because the scientific community is yet to ascertain what it exactly is, they have named it WT1190F, which has earned the UFO its now famous nickname – WTF.
The object is around seven feet and will crash into the ocean at around 12 noon IST.
It was rediscovered by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey earlier in October. The sky survey was set up as an early warning system for approaching comets and other objects.
Astronomers say that it is the disruptive gravity of the Sun and Moon that pushed ‘WTF’ into a highly elliptical orbit far outside the Moon’s, putting it on a collision course with Earth.
Though astronomers do not know exactly what it is, they believe that it could be a debris from any of the lunar missions including the 1970s Apollo programme.
Their conjecture is based on the fact that the object is hollow, which has been determined from its speed and the trajectory.
What is of interest is that the object will give astronomers a rare opportunity to study the trajectory of a space object and accurately predict its point of impact on Earth.
This is why the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Near Earth Object office in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, is keeping a close watch on the UFO’s path.
Even the US military says that it lacks the ability to identify WT1190F or to predict its exact path.
Because of its size, the WT1190F will not cause any particular damage.
Bill Gray of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told journal Nature that the UFO has a highly elliptical orbital path that extends about twice the distance between Earth and the Moon at the farthest point.
Though the UFO will not trigger a tsunami, Gray warns, “I would not necessarily want to be going fishing directly underneath it.” Gray predicts that most of ‘WTF’ should burn up upon entering the atmosphere.
Though there is a significant number of space junk circling the Earth, this is the first man-made object to return to the planet on its own.
Researchers are currently tracking only 20 or so artificial objects in distant orbits, says Gareth Williams, an astronomer at the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.