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Ron Patton | April 4, 2024

There has been an increase in reports about space objects like rockets and satellites falling from the sky onto the Earth’s surface. With the influx of rockets from the private sector and internationally, it’s no surprise we are experiencing a vast amount of space debris orbiting the planet. And although many of the fragments are burnt up in the atmosphere during reentry, there’s always the concern about it coming down on heavily populated areas. The lack of regulation and the current gold rush approach to space exploration means that space junk and waste will continue to accumulate, as will the related problems and dangers. Tonight on Ground Zero (7-10pm, pacific time) Clyde Lewis talks with astronomer and host of SkyTourRadio, Marc Dantonio about GODZILLA VS. CHICKEN LITTLE. 



Have you ever had the experience of reading a news story on the internet and it triggers a memory of something that either happened to you — or happened to a friend or associate?

I have been doing that a lot lately –and I realize that events that we are told are rare are increasing in frequency — and you start wondering if we are as safe as the government says we are.

For example:

Tuesday morning Californians were shocked to see what looked like a rocket falling from the sky. Then there were golden streaks from an apparent explosion that rained down debris over Los Angeles.

Locals had believed it was the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched six hours prior or a giant meteor that combusted as it shot through Earth’s atmosphere.

Aerospace researchers have determined that the fiery object was the orbital object of China’s Shenzhou-15 rocket that launched in 2022.

Again this is one of many events that have happened where people are seeing rockets or satellites dropping from the sky.

This story reminded me of what happened when I was on the air in March of 2021. I was sitting at the radio control board and I was distracted by something outside my window.

We are on the third floor, so I can see over the trees and what I saw looked like a huge explosion of light –at first, I thought it was fireworks — and then went back to the show.

I started getting e-mails from people who were listening in southern Washington saying that a UFO had crashed near a farm in Washington state.

Well of course I had to break away from the topic and take calls from people who saw the UFO crash. Looking over news bulletins the story broke after an hour saying that the debris was from a SpaceX rocket and that it posed no threat to people below– But there was a different story that did not make the mainstream news.

The National Weather Service in Seattle said that the widely reported bright objects in the sky on March 25th were remnants of the second stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket leaving comet-like trails as they burned up upon reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere.

A piece of the burning rocket debris crashed on a farm in Washington state.

The approximately 5-foot composite-overwrapped pressure vessel used for storing helium left a nearly 4-inch dent in the ground.

Soon after that event, the Chinese government announced that The Long March 5B, a variant of China’s largest rocket, had some technical issues so it had to make an uncontrolled re-entry to Earth.

After scientists tracking the debris were worried it would fall on a populated area it finally came crashing into the ocean near the island nation of the Maldives.

It is believed that most of the debris from the rocket burnt up in the atmosphere, according to Reuters.

Again — we have to ask just how safe are we from space threats.

When we start hearing about military pilots having close shaves with Unidentified flying objects – air traffic control baffled over lights streaking across the sky we should take notice. In the wars that are being fought, we hear about drones swooping down and targeting civilians. Lazers that can start fires in places like Maui.

We see Chinese balloons drifting over Nuclear Missile silos — and we wait and wait until it is safe to shoot it down.

Some electromagnetic wall surges through the air–and birds drop out of the sky turned inside out by whatever force crushed them in midflight.

Commercial jets are losing their landing gear, doors are popping off the planes and falling over small towns — we don’t look up — and when we do something is coming straight down damaging property and killing someone.

I know that we have a military that is supposed to be superior and that we have bigger nukes than they do –and that we are probably well equipped to fight on land and sea — but there is one particular area that I feel is open for attack or disaster and that is the sky above us.

I know that there have been critics of my show saying that I remind them of Chicken Little — and that’s fine because more and more I am beginning to empathize with the little guy who thought the sky was falling and maybe for a lot of us it is.

If you give the metaphor it’s due –we can say that we are the chicken littles –and whatever is coming at us is like an uncontrollable monster like Godzilla.

While Godzilla is a metaphor for Hiroshima and Nagasaki he has evolved into a representation of natural disasters and environmental decay.

I am sure he can also be a metaphor for any threat that is so powerful it would be hard to fight it or prevent it.

Godzilla is an allegory of humanity’s capacity to destroy itself.

Chicken Little is an allegory about puny earthlings being in the crosshairs of something that can drop from the sky and destroy us.

For the sake of a reality check here are over 1,400 satellites orbiting over us, plus thousands of pieces of space junk that might survive entry through the Earth’s atmosphere. But the chances of being hit are extremely low.

Most of the Earth is covered by the sea, and the majority of the land is uninhabited–so there is plenty of areas where something could fall– but reaching you some say is one in a billion.

But in 1997 falling space debris from the Delta II rocket hit Oklahoman Lottie Williams, so getting struck by space junk may not be as unlikely as you would think.

A Florida resident is contemplating legal action against Japan’s space agency following a harrowing incident in which falling debris believed to be from the International Space Station tore through his home.

Alejandro Otero of Naples, Florida, recounted that a piece of space debris crashed into his residence. The incident was just a hair’s breadth from being disastrous as it narrowly avoided striking his son.

In a statement to local media outlet WINK News, Mr. Otero expressed his disbelief at the randomness and severity of the situation.

Mr. Otero released security camera footage on X capturing the audible impact of the falling debris, accompanied by his commentary outlining the near-miss incident and extensive destruction last month.

The visuals from the scene reveal a significant breach of the roof, damage to the ceiling, shattered floorboards, and the object in question – a metallic cylinder measuring around 10 centimeters in length and 4 centimeters in diameter.

Given the constrained storage on the ISS, astronauts are compelled to discard waste into space routinely. This discarded material typically enters Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrates upon re-entry.

But things did not go according to plan when a heavy pallet of expired batteries broke off, and it appears that fragments of it withstood the intense heat of re-entering over the Gulf of Mexico.

It appears that your chances of being hit by some space widget have increased mainly because of the surge in rocket launches and the placement of satellites.

People think of space as vast and empty, but the near-Earth environment is starting to get crowded. As many as 100 lunar missions are planned over the next decade by governments and private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Near-Earth orbit is even more congested than the space between Earth and the Moon. It’s from 100 to 500 miles straight up, compared with 250,000 miles to the Moon. Currently, there are nearly 7,700 satellites within a few hundred miles of the Earth. That number could grow to several hundred thousand by 2027.

Many of these satellites will be used to deliver internet to developing countries or to monitor agriculture and climate on Earth. Companies like SpaceX have dramatically lowered launch costs, driving this wave of activity.

But we also know that satellites are being used to bring communication and other information on the battlefield –and easily become targets — of the enemy.

Shooting down or disabling satellites could pose a greater risk for those of us on the ground.

All this activity creates hazards and debris.

Is it possible to It’s possible to have too much of a good thing?

The trick is knowing how much is too much.

But there is no stopping the continued traffic jam of satellites that are being fired into space.

NASA has “concerns” and In a five-page letter to the FCC, the space agency said it is worried about the potential for a “significant increase” in conjunction events (a polite way of describing satellite crashes in orbit, or at least two objects coming close), as well as possible impact on its spaceflight activities.

But there are other concerns.

An unspecified defect in early model Starlink satellites has prompted SpaceX to preemptively deorbit the units before they potentially fail and become hazards in low Earth orbit. While the company remains confident that the deorbiting of these problematic units will prevent any issues, this incident underscores the challenges and uncertainties in navigating the realm of gigantic satellite networks and where they land when they fall from the sky.

The deorbiting of Starlink satellites is a commonplace task for SpaceX; the Elon Musk-led company has already initiated the disposal of 406 units from the nearly 6,000 satellites launched to date.

Among these, 17 are currently non-maneuverable but are expected to naturally decay and eventually burn up in Earth’s atmosphere in the coming years. However, the decision to deorbit a large batch of approximately 100 satellites within a brief amount of time is certainly out of the ordinary.

SpaceX plans to initiate these controlled descents over the next few months.

The whole process should take roughly six months to complete.

he chosen units, all early-version 1 Starlink satellites, are “currently maneuverable and serving users effectively, but the Starlink team identified a common issue in this small population of satellites that could increase the probability of failure in the future.”

The exact nature of the issue was not disclosed, and SpaceX does not respond to media requests for additional information. In its statement, SpaceX reassured its customers that Starlink services will remain uninterrupted while adding that the satellites will still be able to avoid collisions with other satellites during their descent throughout the decommissioning phase.

There are currently 5,402 functioning Starlink satellites orbiting in low Earth orbit, the first of which was launched in 2019.

Starlink satellites operate at exceptionally low altitudes for a communications network, ranging from 211 to 382 miles.

At the higher bound, it takes about five years for a Starlink satellite to naturally deorbit as the result of atmospheric drag.

The decision to deorbit so many satellites at once is motivated by safety concerns– but again this many deorbited satellites all at once has never been done before.

What guarantees do we have that there will be a flawless deorbit and should we be chicken littles waiting for the monster satellites to pounce?

In 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a new rule that requires satellites in LEO to deorbit within five years after the completion of their mission. This rule, aimed at addressing the growing issue of space debris, will apply to satellites launched two years after the order’s adoption.

This means that satellites launched after September 29, 2024, will be subject to the new five-year deorbiting rule. The rule represents a significant change from the previous guideline, which allowed satellites to deorbit up to 25 years after their mission ended​.

But of course, human error is always something to think about.

This raises serious questions about the long-term sustainability and safety of increasingly crowded orbital environments. Even with good intentions, a company can seriously screw things up by sending gigantic batches of faulty equipment to space.

When the rockets go up they have to come down — and satellites falling from the sky would ruin your day pretty quickly.

The clutter in Earth’s orbit includes defunct spacecraft, spent rocket boosters, and items discarded by astronauts such as a glove, a wrench, and a toothbrush. It also includes tiny pieces of debris like paint flecks.

There are around 23,000 objects larger than 4 inches and about 100 million pieces of debris larger than 1 mm. Tiny pieces of junk might not seem like a big issue, but that debris is moving at 15,000 mph, 10 times faster than a bullet. At that speed, even a fleck of paint can puncture a spacesuit or destroy a sensitive piece of electronics.

China and Russia have launched satellites that are meant to inspect and repair other spacecraft but could be used to attack US satellites.

If Russia were to deploy nuclear warheads to destroy US satellites, the consequences could be catastrophic. Home utilities like electricity and water could fail, while transportation systems such as aviation, rail, and automotive traffic might grind to a halt.

We have watched those scenes in movies where planes fall out of the sky over populated areas… this is not so far-fetched if there is a disruption in GPS and satellite navigation tools.

An EMP would create a pulse of electromagnetic energy and a flood of highly charged particles that would tear through space to disrupt other satellites winging around Earth.

Disclosures about new Russian anti-satellite weapons have thrust military space capabilities into the international spotlight and created a sensation among lawmakers, media, and the public.

Starlink has provided Ukraine with much-needed navigation and communication capabilities– if Russia wanted to they could bring down many of these satellites to cripple NATO and Ukrainian troops.

On Feb. 14, Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a statement warning of a “serious national security threat.” A day later, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed media reports that the danger involved an anti-satellite weapon the Russians have been developing.

We were then told not to panic that the weapon may not be operational.

launching it would violate an international treaty that bans the deployment of nuclear weapons in space. It would be space-based and it would be a violation of the Outer Space Treaty to which more than 130 countries have signed up, including Russia.

Though unclassified details about Russia’s new anti-satellite system have been scarce, the threat to U.S. satellites is not a new one. The Space Force has been warning about the growing danger for years.

Chief of Space Operation Gen. B. Chance Saltzman said “We’re seeing continual development and operationalizing” of nefarious space capabilities by Russia and China.”

The Space Force has increasingly emphasized that space is now a contested domain and that both Russia and China has been working on weapons to threaten America’s satellites.

It has often cited Russia’s 2021 anti-satellite test as an example of “counter space” capabilities. In turn, the U.S. committed in 2022 to not conduct direct-asset kinetic ASAT tests and has pushed for a global ban on such tests—so far, without success.

One wonders, however, if the Russians or the Chinese are successfully hacking GPS systems and other early warning systems as we have seen disasters like what happened with the Dali bridge disaster and the shutting down of weather radar and satellite communication during the Tornadoes and severe weather being experienced in the Midwest.

This is speculation of course — but we are constantly being told that hackers and adversarial groups may be able to seize satellites and cause them to fail.

Russia continues to train its military space elements, and field new anti-satellite weapons to disrupt and degrade U.S. and allied space capabilities.

No arms control talks between the U.S. and Russia are currently underway, and the prospects of negotiating an end to the Russian threat are not good.

National geopolitical and commercial interests will likely take precedence over interplanetary conservation efforts unless the United Nations acts. A new treaty may emerge from the work of the U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs, which in May 2023 generated a policy document to address the sustainable development of activities in space.

The U.N. can regulate the activities of only its member states, but it has a project to help member states craft national-level policies that advance the goals of sustainable development.

NASA has created and signed the Artemis Accords, broad but nonbinding principles for cooperating peacefully in space. They have been signed by 28 countries, but the list does not include China or Russia. Private companies are not party to the accords either, and some space entrepreneurs have deep pockets and big ambitions.

The lack of regulation and the current gold rush approach to space exploration means that space junk and waste will continue to accumulate, as will the related problems and dangers.

At this moment in time, it appears that Chicken Little is right. The sky may eventually fall –as little by little, it is falling already.


Marc Dantonio has a degree in Astronomy and is the Mutual UFO Network’s (MUFON) Chief Photo/Video Analyst, host of SkyTour Radio on KGRA, and host and creator of the popular SkyTour LiveStream with Marc Dantonio, a group of LIVE deep sky Telescope observatories on YouTube where people can go on clear nights to watch beautiful deep sky objects materialize before their eyes in mere seconds courtesy of the SkyTour LiveStream Remote Observatories and their research telescopes from Meade Instruments Corporation. He is the CEO of FX Models, a model-making and visual/special effects company specializing in digital/physical models, and organic visual effects in the film industry.

Marc has an extensive work history discussing and investigating extraterrestrial life in the Film and Television arena appearing regularly on several networks and television series/shows on such networks as Discovery, Discovery Plus, History, Netflix, TLC, and more.

Written by Ron Patton


This post currently has 5 comments.

  1. SARGE

    April 4, 2024 at 6:05 pm


  2. Mike

    April 4, 2024 at 7:42 pm

    Hi guys/gals! Sorry, I don’t want to leave anyone out gender wise. Anyway, maybe you can mention about a 2lb piece of battery from a spent battery pallet from the ISS went through the roof of a Naples Florida home roof on March 8th. It went through the roof, through the ceiling of a room in the home where someone was actually in at the time! Thankfully no one was injured! NASA supposedly is investigating this incident!? Just thought you would be interested to know about this.

  3. Joe

    April 4, 2024 at 10:49 pm

    They found gold 🥇 in space.thats worth 77 quad trillions dollars.. buy.but the coming Earthquakes. Mr Lewis be ready 💩 gonna hit the Vatican kings rulers Hollywood the Cancer gonna killed many
    . Be ready Earth changes

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