In Australia they are serious about their littering fines and not even NASA could get away with it. Here’s what happened when debris of Skylab fell into Australia.
In 1973, Skylab, the first US manned space scientific station, was launched into Earth’s orbit by NASA. However, in just a year later, the station was abandoned and started to disintegrate, re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.
Even though NASA fired booster rockets, in hope that the pieces of Skylab would fall into the Indian Ocean, it turned out impossible to control the debris. Some of them did fall into the Indian ocean, but the majority of the debris landed in populated areas of Western Australia. Thankfully, no one was injured but the town still issued a $400 fine to the United States for littering. (the article continues after the ad)
The fine went unpaid for nearly 30 years until April 1999 when a Californian radio DJ raised funds from his listeners and paid NASA’s bill.
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Photos: NASA, Powerhouse Museum