Authorities have been investigating a large metallic sphere that fell out of the sky onto remote grasslands in Namibia in November.
The metal ball has a diameter of 14 inches, weighs 13 pounds and has a rough surface, according to reports.
Police forensics director Paul Ludik told the AFP news agency that the ball consisted of “two halves welded together”.
Authorities were so shocked to find this object that they called NASA and the European Space Agency to investigate the strange metal ball.
Witnesses say they heard a number of explosions days before the “space ball” was recovered near an African village. It left a hole in the earth that was about 2.5 inches deep and it was found about 60 feet from its landing spot. Ludik describes the object as being made of a “metal alloy known to man.”
According to sources, the ball was found in November, but authorities performed tested before announcing news of the ball. Police deputy inspector general Vilho Hifindaka confirmed the sphere didn’t pose any danger.
“It is not an explosive device, but rather hollow, but we had to investigate all this first,” Hifindaka said.
Several balls like this were found in southern Africa, Australia and Latin America over the last twenty years, according to reports.
In 2008, a metal ball was discovered in Brazil, causing similar shock and confusion. Just before that, in 2007, a severely damaged metallic sphere was found in Australia.
Sources say the ball is a dusty Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel, or COPV, which may have dropped from orbit. It could have come from a space mission that requires use of a COPV, although it is unclear which spacecraft it came from.
The COPV in Nambia is being called an exotic-looking piece of space junk, rather than extraterrestrial finding. COPVs are used to store gasses under pressure in a space environment, along with a variety of other applications, according to a Discovery.com report.
It was able to withstand the impact of crashing into the earth because of they are made of tough material, like carbon fiber or Kevlar.