In 1979, the NASA space station Skylab returned to Earth in a fiery trail of destruction after 5 years of swanning about in orbit sans crew. Well the folks in Esperance in Western Australia didn’t take too kindly to this wanton littering and so Esperance fined NASA $AU400 for their sloppy aeronautics. Just a bit of fun really.
Not much else happened after that, NASA ignored the fine, tourists enquired about it, footnotes got added to Wikipedia and it was pretty much forgotten. That is until April 2009 when American DJ Scott Barley from Highway Radio paid the fine on NASA’s behalf after raising the funds on his breakfast radio show. Esperance declined to cash the cheque choosing instead to frame it as a fitting book-end to a quirky little tale.
[Photo via The Esperance Express]