A popular Mexican weather reporter has stirred attention on social media after he posted photographs on Facebook of a large sphere that he said had fallen out of the sky and into a tree near the city of Veracruz.
No one knows what the orb is, with experts saying it is unlikely to be bits of space junk from terrestrial launches.
On August 1, Isidro Cano Luna, who runs popular social media accounts in which he makes videos on weather in Mexico, released photos of the strange object dated to July 31. Though dark and blurry, the photos appear to show how the sphere, which also appears to have at least one antenna-like pole sticking out of it, landed on top of a tree, according to Luna’s description.
On Facebook, where Luna has 123,000 followers, the posts gained thousands of likes and shares.
“It is [a] round shape and appears to be very hard plastic or an alloy of various metals,” Luna wrote, translated from Spanish.
He said people should steer clear of the site as “it may have radioactivity” and that the orb may contain “valuable information,” so should only be opened by
He added that he considered the object to possibly be a piece of debris from “the Chinese rocket that was out of control”—probably a reference to the Chinese Long March 5B rocket that made headlines last week after experts predicted its 25-ton booster stage would make an uncontrolled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere and possibly cause debris to hit the ground.
Debris possibly related to this rocket booster was indeed found on Monday this week, but it was found in southeast Asia, far from Mexico.
In a later post, Luna said Mexican defense officials would have to investigate the sphere and in a follow-up said that “highly trained staff” were reported to have taken the object away from the tree and removed it from the area.
According to a report from Mexico news outlet Diario de Xalapa on June 5 this year, Luna now produces meteorological reports for his social media followers after a professional career providing services to the federal government. He reportedly trained at the Tacubaya Meteorological Observatory in Mexico City.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told Newsweek he had doubts about the reports of the sphere being related to space debris.
“I am suspicious of this,” he said. “It doesn’t immediately look like space debris;
and the timing is suspicious. It can’t be from the Chinese rocket—wrong part of the world—but could be a copycat hoax. I’d need a much better photo to say anything for sure.”
One strange characteristic of the sphere is that, based on the photos posted by Luna at least, there do not appear to be any scorch marks suggestive of atmospheric re-entry.
Martin Sweening, distinguished professor of space engineering at the Surrey Space Center in the UK, told Newsweek: “[It’s] a bit difficult to tell from the picture—I have enhanced it somewhat and it looks like a fuel tank of some sort with a feeder pipe.
“It may be either a titanium tank from a spent rocket stage but it doesn’t look discolored from the heat of re-entry, neither is it damaged from a high speed landing. It may have nothing to do with the Chinese rocket stage. “
In any case Luna’s post has predictably sparked chatter of aliens and UFOs. One person in the comment section of one of Luna’s Facebook posts wrote, translated from Spanish: “Please let us know if some green creatures come out please… just in case.”
The story was shared on alien discussion forum Godlike Productions and also received over 1,800 upvotes on the ‘UFOs’ subreddit, where users speculated about its origins—some with skepticism. “Hydrazine tank maybe,” wrote one user, implying a space debris explanation. “God, please let this be an alien,” said another.