Saturday, April 26, 2003

Mystery bolt not from space

The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIDDLETOWN - The source of a hunk of metal that crashed through the roof of a Middletown home on March 10 remains a mystery.

But NASA officials say they're pretty sure it's not space junk.

"They said it's not from a satellite, a space vehicle or a rocket or something else that propels things into space. And they said it's not consistent with something that came off an airplane, either," Middletown Police Maj. Mike Bruck said Friday after receiving a report from the government agency.

The bolt-like piece, said to be larger than a softball and imprinted with the letters "U.S.," is made of high tungsten steel that is consistent with industrial manufacturing and foundry work, NASA told police.

For now, the piece is back in Middletown, but police aren't sure whether they'll have it analyzed further, possibly by a metallurgist as NASA suggested.

The space agency's analysis did answer one question for inquiring police minds: Was the Middletown mother's report real or a hoax?

"NASA did find that there was wood and tar mixed in with the metal. So, it clearly fell through the roof," Bruck said.

"But, how it got up there and fell through is still a mystery."

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