According to Lottie Williams she was walking through a park in Tulsa late one night in 1997 when she was struck in the shoulder by a piece of a Delta II rocket. The ice weighted about the same as "an empty soda can" so she suffered no injury. But she is now famous for being the only person known to have actually been struck by a piece of falling space debris.
With NASA still trying to determine where their falling bus-sized satellite might land the experience of Lottie Williams should make some people feel a little better. Of course, a 160kg soda can would still pack a wallop.
“We were stunned, in awe,” Williams told FoxNews.com. She thought she’d just witnessed a shooting star. “It was beautiful.”
Less than thirty minutes later, that awe turned to fear.
“We were still walking through the park when I felt a tapping on my shoulder,” Williams explained. With no one near her at the time, she started to run, thinking a stranger had appeared out of the shadows. Then she heard something hit the ground behind her.
“The weight was comparable to an empty soda can,” Williams told FoxNews.com. “It looked like a piece of fabric except when you tap it, it sounded metallic." Williams was sure she’d found a piece of a shooting star.
Excited by her discovery, she took the fallen piece of sky to her local library where she was referred to the astronomy club (given her space-rock theory), as well as the National Weather Service -- who told her about a Delta II rocket that had re-entered the atmosphere the night before.
Beginning to realize what had happened, Williams took the piece to the University of Tulsa where Dr. Winton Cornell, an applied associate professor in the Department of Geosciences, studied it with an electron microscope and blasted it with X-rays.
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