The sky is falling, and scientists are amped

Now, astronomers are champing at the bit to observe the object as it approaches and enters the atmosphere.

ESA Astronomer Marco Micheli said it will provide “an ideal opportunity to test our readiness for any possible future atmospheric entry events involving an asteroid, since the components of this scenario, from discovery to impact, are all very similar.”

The agency says it thinks the object is probably a spent rocket booster because analysis of its movements suggest it has a density of about 10% that of water.

“This is too low to be a natural space rock, but it is compatible with being a hollow shell, such as the spent upper stage of a rocket,” the ESA said.