We did expect the object to get caught by earths gravity and take orbit around the earth. What we didn’t expect was that it stayed there. It should have lost height and burnt up in the atmosphere, like most of the other metal objects with it’s mass (approximately one ton).
82 days passed, and although nobody else noticed, it was clear to us that we were onto something. A foreign object that remained in orbit around our planet by it’s own means. That was exactly the way we did our planetary exploration. Like our spacecraft, it would probably come down to earth, eventually. Maybe it even had a lander and just surveyed earth to find the right place to land.
On the 83rd day since taking orbit, the object rapidly lost height and impacted earth. Right next to us, in the Mojave Desert! My mind raced.
It might have picked up the signals from our radar telescopes and decided to come to us. Or it just decided the desert was a good place to come down in. How should we greet a robot from another galaxy? Or would we just find a satellite devoid of all energy and destroyed by the impact?
When we arrived at the crater two hours of frantic driving later, a bumper sticker was the first thing I noticed. “UFO Chase Vehicle”, it said. It was still attached to the remains of a bumper. I had seen them before, on cars returning from their trip to Nevada, passing through town. UFO loonies. What in the name of the invisible pink unicorn had happened here?
This wasn’t just an impact crater, as it turned out. There must have been an explosion as well. What would we have our exploration robot do if it encountered hostile action? Right. Blow up.