And this time they are trying to shoot down airplanes. The pilot of a Chilean airliner reported that glowing, incandescent objects hurtled past his aircraft as it was entering New Zealand air space.
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – Pilots of a Chilean commercial jetliner spotted flaming objects falling past their plane as it headed for a landing in New Zealand, airline officials said Wednesday.
U.S. experts suggested the objects were likely meteors burning up in the Earth's atmosphere and questioned Australian media reports they were probably pieces of a falling Russian spacecraft.
LAN Chile airline said in a brief statement that the pilot, who was not identified, “made visual contact with incandescent fragments'' several miles away on Monday. The Airbus 340 had just entered New Zealand airspace when the space debris was spotted.
The airline said it reported the incident to authorities in Chile and New Zealand.
Web sites of several Australian news media quoted officials as saying that pieces of a Russian satellite had narrowly missed the jet.
But Nicholas Johnson, orbital debris chief scientist for NASA's Johnson Space Center, said that was likely not the case. Russian space junk was expected to come back to Earth – but not until about 12 hours after the incident with the jet, Johnson said.
He said he checked with the Russians and the debris – an empty Progress resupply ship that had been at the International Space Station – re-entered Earth's atmosphere on schedule.
“Unless someone has their times wrong, there appears to be no correlation,'' Johnson told The Associated Press.
We have photographic evidence (Real Professional Newswire Quality™, too!) of the earlier assaults on Christchurch, New Zealand. It's getting kind of dangerous down there.