SpaceX debris reportedly hit sheep farm

“If it landed on your house, it would be a hell of a mess.”

A sheep farmer in New South Wales, Australia, has made a very unusual discovery: a massive artifact stuck in a remote part of his pen.

The roughly eight-foot structure appeared to have made its way from space after its meteoric journey through the atmosphere, with experts speculating it may have been a jettisoned part once belonging to a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft , Australian broadcaster ABC News reports.

In fact, the piece may date back to SpaceX’s first operational crewed flight in November 2020 – although SpaceX has yet to confirm the news.

“I have just returned from Dalgety, NSW,” tweeted Brad Tucker, astronomy researcher at the Australian National University. “I was busy confirming that parts of a SpaceX Crew-1 Trunk capsule crashed into some paddocks in the NSW countryside.”

Photos show Tucker and locals posing with the bizarre, charred remains.

It’s not every day that we hear about SpaceX space junk impacting solid ground rather than an ocean. The company has pioneered the development of reusable rockets, which can safely return to landing ships. Other pieces are intentionally sent on a trajectory to eventually impact the Pacific or Atlantic ocean.

This latest incident, however, seems to show that all is not going as planned.

Coins like this are designed to burn mostly in the atmosphere, but “big coins don’t,” said Rebecca Allen, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology. ABC. “It is quite worrying and shows that it is essential to follow the debris.”

The news comes as experts track a massive chunk of a Chinese Long March 5B rocket, which is set to make its uncontrolled descent into the atmosphere this weekend – only the latest in a series of uncontrolled re-entries by China.

Tucker pointed to the charring Australian debris, “which you would expect from a re-entry”, he said. ABC. “It’s very rare to see, because they usually don’t land on land, but in the ocean.”

According to Tucker, the debris likely came from the unpressurized part of the spacecraft and is potentially the largest piece of space junk on record in Australia since 1979, when a piece of NASA’s Skylab space station landed in bushes near Esperance in Western Australia.

In a follow-up tweetTucker pointed out that the Crew-1 spacecraft trunk “was jettisoned and remained in orbit until reentry on July 9.”

The illustration below shows the trunk section.

The sudden appearance of the bizarre object caught the locals off guard.

“I didn’t know what to think, I had no idea what it was,” said sheep farm owner Mick Miners. ABC.

“I didn’t hear the bang, but my daughters said it was very loud,” added neighboring farmer Jock Wallace.

Wallace also pointed out the potential dangers of having huge chunks of space junk passing through the atmosphere intact.

“I think it’s worrying, it just fell from the sky,” he told the broadcaster.

“If it landed on your house, it would be a hell of a mess,” he added.

READ MORE: Space junk potentially found in NSW’s Snowy Mountains enclosures [ABC News]

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