NASA Nearly Bombs Australia With 635kg Ammonia Tank

Jettisoned over a year ago and expected to reenter the Earth's atmosphere on its own time somewhere in the beginning of November, one of the ISS's retired coolant tanks has careened through the Earth's atmosphere in the skies off the coast of Australia. Two lucky things happened here: the reentry took place — and this was completely up to chance — over water, and the atmosphere broke the 635kg tank into lots of small pieces.

NASA, which "as a matter of course, [does not]throw things overboard haphazardly", threw this tank overboard haphazardly when it was deemed too volatile to carry back on one of the agency's infrequent shuttle missions. No pieces larger than 7kg are believed to have made it to the surface, but even assuming that half of the craft was vaporised upon reentry, that makes for an awful lot of smelly chunks of metal. Paul Hogan seems to have escaped injury, but alas, Steve Irwin is still dead. And so continues life in Oz. [Daily Mail]