A Latino family is suing NASA after space debris landed on their Florida home's roof.

A Florida Latino family is suing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and seeking more than $80,000 after falling from space and going through the roof of their Naples home.

“On May 22, 2024, (attorney) Micah Nguyen Worthy filed a claim with NASA to recover damages for his clients as a result of the space debris incident involving owner Alejandro Otero and his family,” the release states. Friday.

The incident took place on March 8, when an object weighing more than a pound struck Otero's home and left a hole in the roof. NASA later confirmed that it was a piece of a used battery charging platform released as waste from the International Space Station in 2021.

The US space agency said in April that instead of disintegrating completely before falling to Earth, a portion remained intact upon re-entry into the atmosphere.

Why did the Otero family sue NASA?

The space debris problem has grown with increased space traffic and NASA's response could set a precedent for how future claims are handled, law firm Cranfill Sumner said in the report.

In May, Otero told Univision News The object went through his two-story home and caused severe damage to his home, which was covered by his insurance company. However, the family is seeking a different form of compensation from NASA.

“My clients are seeking appropriate compensation for the stress and impact this incident has had on their lives,” said attorney Micah Nguyen Worthy.

“They are thankful that no one was physically injured, but a 'near miss' situation like this could have been catastrophic. Serious injuries or a fatality could have occurred,” the lawsuit states.

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“I was shaking. I couldn't believe it. What are the chances that something would come down on my house with that much force and cause that much damage? I'm just so thankful no one was hurt.”

According to the lawsuit, NASA has six months to respond to the claim. The company is currently not responding.

What space object passed through the house in Naples?

In April, NASA explained that an object that fell from the sky and hit the roof of the Otero family's home turned out to be debris ejected from the International Space Station.

NASA, which later collected the fallen object at Otero's home for analysis, confirmed the speculation in a new blog post.

“Based on the analysis, the debris is part of NASA's flight support equipment, which is used to place the batteries on the charging platform,” he said. “The object is made of Incon alloy, weighs 0.7 kilograms, is 10 centimeters tall and 4 centimeters in diameter,” he explained.

NASA pledged to study how the atmosphere would withstand total destruction and said it would improve its engineering models following the incident.

Who should pay for an incident with a space object?

According to the journal Science Ars Technica, Establishing responsibility for the damage to Otero's home is not easy since the batteries are NASA property, but the platform containing them was carried into space by the Japanese space agency JAXA.

In addition, the European Space Agency (ESA) monitored the platform during its descent and calculated that “even if some pieces hit the ground, the risk of casualties, the probability of a person being hit, is extremely low.”

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Faced with this dilemma, the attorney representing Oteros asked NASA to consider that people in the United States do not have to file a lawsuit because there is a legal standard of negligence that holds the U.S. government liable when a landfill causes damage.

“If the incident had occurred overseas and someone from another country had been affected by the same space debris as in the Otero case, the United States would be fully responsible for paying that damage under the Convention on International Liability for Damages Caused by Space Objects, also known as the Space Liability Convention. NASA does not apply a different standard to U.S. citizens or residents, but rather We ask that Oteros be looked after and compensated.

Space debris falls on a house in Florida: Who should pay for the damages? We analyze it

Misty Tate

"Freelance twitter advocate. Hardcore food nerd. Avid writer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver."

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