What the heck just crashed in the Arizona desert?

  • A large object crashed down in the Arizona desert and nobody has officially explained what it is.
  • The machine appears to be a satellite, but it doesn’t look like it ever orbited Earth, suggesting it was held aloft by a balloon instead.
  • A company called Polar Field retrieved the object, though they haven’t issued a statement regarding the crash.

When someone falls from the sky it’s usually not a good thing —the rare exception being a meteorite that falls next to your house and makes you a millionaire, of course — but in the case of a mysterious machine that tumbled out of the sky above the Arizona desert, the mystery surrounding it is quite interesting.

As The Arizona Republic reports, an object that looks a whole lot like a satellite came crashing down on tribal land belonging to the Navajo Nation. Several eyewitnesses saw the machine tumbling down and crash in an uninhabited area that is mostly desert. But what exactly is it? Well, that’s where things get a little more confusing.

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According to reports, the crashed piece of hardware had “four large solar panels” and an orange object believed to be a parachute was resting nearby. A photo posted to Facebook by Navajo Nation Council Delegate Nate Brown appears to confirm that description, but it doesn’t really answer the question as to what the object actually is.


“My chapter officials reported that this fell from the sky between Dennehotso abs Rock Point. Navajo Nation police did receive the report so they’re checking on it right now,” Brown wrote on the social network. “No one was hurt.”

The object was reportedly picked up by a company called Polar Field Services, which The Arizona Republic says specializes in “providing logistics and support for expeditions to locations in extreme climates.” The company uses balloon-equipped hardware in its business, and an object resembling the one that crashed in Arizona crashed in Michigan in 2019, suggesting that the “satellite” wasn’t really a satellite in the traditional sense, since it was never in Earth orbit and was merely held aloft by a balloon.

It’s also worth noting that if the object were indeed a satellite, its journey through Earth’s atmosphere on its way to the ground would have likely damaged it severely. From the picture of the crashed machine, we can see it’s actually in pretty good shape and doesn’t bear the telltale signs of reentry, which would include severe burning and other damage.

Polar Field has not issued a statement on the crashed object, and its most recent social media updates are quite old. For now, we’ll have to assume that the crashed machine was some type of hardware being used by Polar Field, though we won’t know for certain until the company confirms those suspicions.

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