Popular Science

You'd be surprised how often space junk falls out of the sky

But you’re still extremely unlikely to ever get hit by a piece.
satellites in orbit

Now I'm freeeeeee! Free-fallinnnn'

NASA

While Americans celebrated Black Friday last week, a few lucky Canadians got a rare glimpse of … an incredibly common event. A rocket booster from the recently launched Cygnus spacecraft fell back down to Earth over Saskatchewan, creating a spectacular plume of light in its wake.

Videos of the event spread across the interwebs, and for good reason. Witnessing a re-entry like that is uncommon. But the truth is that debris burns up in our atmosphere once every few days.

Like other seemingly once-in-a-lifetime events—like experiencing a full solar eclipse—bearing witness to a big hunk of metal hurtling towards

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