A three-meter piece of space debris from the Elon Musk spacecraft crashed into a farmer’s property in New South Wales at a speed of about 25,000 km / h.
The object, which was part of the SpaceX Crew-1 spacecraft, was found in a sheep pen by a farmer living on a large property in the Snowy Mountains.
Farmer Mick Meiners said he discovered space debris that looked like a tree from afar after his family heard a loud bang.
The explosion was also reportedly heard by residents of southern New South Wales, with some claiming to have seen the explosion.
Neighboring farmer Jock Wallace also reported a similar foreign object torpedoing his land.
Luckily for both farmers, space debris ejected from one of the ship’s fins was found far enough from their homes.
Following an investigation, authorities called in Australian National University space expert Brad Tucker to inspect the site.
“It’s definitely space junk that was part of the trunk of SpaceX Crew-1,” he told Ben Fordham over the radio on Monday.
“SpaceX has this capsule that will take people into space, but there is a bottom… so when the astronauts come back, they leave the bottom in space before the capsule lands.”
The spacecraft, which costs $62 million to launch, has begun deorbiting after nearly two years in space.
Mr Tucker said the original plan was for the ship to break apart and land in the ocean.
“We saw most of the debris land in the ocean, but obviously not a few, because this three-meter piece was pierced into the ground from space,” Mr. Tucker said.
“Photographs of the debris clearly show the charring that would be expected on re-entry (atmosphere). They are very rarely seen, because they usually land not on land, but in the ocean. People often think they find small pieces of space debris, but they burn up on re-entry, so it’s more likely to be these big pieces.”
The spacecraft, which is a stainless steel rocket, had a height of more than 50 meters.
SpaceX is an American aerospace company founded in 2002 by Mr. Musk that helped usher in the era of commercial spaceflight.
Originally published as Strange item found on farmer’s property in New South Wales