A piece of what appears to be a SpaceX capsule has crashed into farmland in Australia.
The space junk resembles a monolith from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.
It is believed to have re-entered the atmosphere around 7 a.m. local time on Saturday.
According to farmers and an astrophysicist, a piece of what appears to be a SpaceX capsule has crashed into farmland in Australia.
Two farmers were startled by a bang around 7 a.m. on Saturday when they discovered what appeared to be space equipment scattered across their sheep paddocks.
Jock Wallace, a sheep farmer in Australia, initially contacted the civil aviation authority for advice, but they advised him to contact NASA.
“I’m a Dalgety farmer; what am I going to say to NASA?” he asked.
Mr Wallace and his neighbour Mick Miners sought assistance from Dr Brad Tucker, an astrophysicist at the Australian National University.
Dr Tucker told Sky News that he told the farmers why he thought the artefacts came from a SpaceX capsule that landed on Earth in May.
“At 7am local time, the SpaceX Crew-1 Trunk, which is the unpressurised bottom part of the capsule, was catalogued and tracked to be re-entering over the southern parts of New South Wales in Australia,” Dr Tucker explained.
The space junk, which resembles a monolith from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, stands nearly three metres tall and was discovered wedged upright into the ground.
The small town of Dalgety in New South Wales, where it was discovered, is almost perfectly aligned with the re-entry path of this trunk, according to astronomer Jonathan McDowell. SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment from Sky News about whether the space junk was something it had left orbiting the planet.
“At that time, people across the area heard a sonic boom as the trunk entered the atmosphere,” Dr Tucker explained. It was also seen breaking apart, which is typical of space junk.
“You can see scorching patterns after inspection,” Dr Tucker said, adding that the object’s “composition matches that of space equipment.”
“The parts can also be roughly visually matched to pictures and parts of the trunk,” he added.
Fortunately, the material landed a long distance away from both the farmers’ homes and livestock.
The re-entry of space junk is a contentious issue, with the United States and China trading barbs over the uncontrolled re-entry of China’s Long March-5B booster this weekend.
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