Sometimes adulthood just feels like an ever-expanding list titled Shit I Need To Worry About, though it’s nice to know that there’s some things that just aren’t likely to make that list. Normally, “satellites falling from the sky into your yard” is one of those things you shouldn’t bother putting on your list, but the fact that a satellite just crashed onto a Michigan family’s yard might make you reconsider that. Though, to be fair, it wasn’t really a satellite. But it was close.
The lander-like craft, complete with large solar panels, was a Samsung machine known as the “SpaceSelfie,” a goofy promotional stunt by Samsung that would let people send their selfies into space, or at least close to space, in that instead of actually being launched by rocket into orbit, the Samsung not-satellite was carried aloft by a large balloon, all the way into the high stratosphere, high enough to see the curvature of the Earth and the blackness of space.
Here’s a promo video where Cara Delevigne sent the first selfie to the floating thingie:
The SpaceSelfie was launched from South Dakota, where the company that produces and launches the high-altitude balloons is based, and the craft reportedly reached around 65,000 feet Before crashing back down to a farm owned by the Welke family, who were happy the thing didn’t hit their house or any of their horses.
The machine was pretty damaged, though it was reported that it could still be heard “humming and whirring.” It’s basically just a Samsung phone and some solar power hardware, perhaps a couple of fans, so it’s not too surprising it was still at least partially operational.
Currently, Samsung’s SpaceSelfie website is down, like their fake satellite, though its reported the company had people to the Welke’s property to clean up the mess.
An actual satellite would have burned up in re-entry, and only really huge or unusually durable hardware would make it through. So while I wouldn’t worry about satellites crashing into your yard, I guess you can pencil balloon-borne marketing stunt crashes onto your worry list.