Mystery Object That Buzzed The Earth Could Be Human-Made, Says Scientist

Early this morning, an object that was most likely a small asteroid zoomed past Earth, narrowly missing a collision course. Now a European astronomer says it's possible that this object could be part of the ESA's Venus probe.

Though the object has already zoomed by, there is still no absolute proof that it's an asteroid. The ESA's Michael Khan writes:

Probably 2010 AL30 is of natural origin. However, the possibility that it is man-made cannot be completely excluded. If so, it might be the upper stage of a rocket used in an earlier planetary mission, possible to Venus. The current orbit would have been acquired through a Venus swingby and other orbital perturbations.

While Khan emphasizes that he's speculating, it's worth checking out his extremely detailed discussion of orbital trajectories. He makes a pretty good case for this object being one of the rocket stages used in the Venus Express launch. If Khan is right, that would mean humans could be engineering their own disaster from space.

via SciLogs