Sao Paulo: An unidentified metal object that may have come from a spacecraft caused a huge commotion when it fell to the Earth in a small town in northern Brazil.
The spherical object, weighing about 30 kg and with a diameter of one metre, was found earlier this week in Anapurus town.
"The noise I heard made me weak in the knees. I went to see what it was. I thought it was an airplane that had crashed, or an earthquake," resident Jose Valdir Mendes said.
The object left a one-metre hole in the earth, he said.
Astrophysicist Gustavo Rojas of the Sao Carlos Federal University said a similar piece fell in Uganda in 2002 that came from the European satellite launch rocket Ariane 4.
"It`s highly probable that it`s the helium tank from the Ariane 4 rocket that was launched in 1997. Its return to the atmosphere was scheduled for the morning of February 22, according to the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies," Rojas said.
One resident, alluding to the Mayan prediction that the world will end Dec 21, 2012, said: "There was an enormous disturbance here. Some were afraid it might have something to do with that 2012 story."
"Others said it was an alien. But I think it`s a piece of a satellite that fell from space," he said.