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SpaceX debris discovered in Australian sheep paddock


Credit: Pixabay/CC0 public domain

A charred piece of space debris found from a paddock by an Australian sheep farmer was confirmed by authorities on Thursday as part of one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX missions.

The ethereal-looking debris, believed to have sunk to Earth on July 9, was found last week in Dalgety — a remote area near Australia’s Snowy Mountains, about a five-hour drive southwest of Sydney.

“It was kind of exciting and weird in the same way,” astrophysicist Brad Tucker, who visited the site after local farmers contacted him last month, told AFP.

He said finding the large piece embedded in an empty field reminded him of something from the sci-fi movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

“It’s amazing to see it.”

The Australian space agency confirmed in a statement that the debris came from one of Musk’s missions and told locals to report any further finds to SpaceX.

“The Agency has confirmed that the debris is from a SpaceX mission and continues to work with our counterparts in the US, as well as other parts of the Commonwealth and local authorities,” a spokesman for the Australian space agency said.

Tucker said the piece was part of a trunk that was jettisoned by the earlier Crew-1 capsule when it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in 2021.

He said the trunk had split upon return, with reports of other space debris also found in nearby properties, making more discoveries related to the SpaceX mission likely.

Most space debris splashes into the sea, but with the growth of space industries worldwide, the amount that crashes to Earth is likely to increase, he added.

“We need to realize that there is a likely risk that it will strike in a populated area one day and what that means.”

The Australian space agency said it was working to reduce debris and had raised the issue internationally.

Space debris is falling more and more. What is the probability that it could hit someone or damage property?

© 2022 AFP

Quote: SpaceX debris discovered in Australian sheep pasture (2022, Aug 4), retrieved Aug 4, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-spacex-debris-australian-sheep-paddock.html

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