Mick Miners and Jock Wallace, two shepherds from a small town in New South Wales, Australia, found a 3-meter-high piece of space debris on their farm, which would later be identified by astrophysicist Brad Tucker as possible space debris from Earth. a SpaceX mission.
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On Monday Mick Miners tripped over a piece of metal. “I didn’t know what to think, I had no idea what it was”, “at first I thought it was a tree”, commented the rancher.
On July 9, several people in the area reported hearing a large explosion, and some were even able to photograph an object crossing the atmosphere that drew a light in the sky. After that moment the speculations that it could have been space debris from a module of the ship SpaceX Elon Musk’s Dragon began to grow. Said ship took off in November 2020. The objective of the SpaceX Dragon ship was to resupply the International Space Station.
Miners, together with his neighbor Jock Wallace, who had also found something similar on his farm, contacted the astrophysicist from the Faculty of Sciences of the Australian National University, Brad Tuckerwhich headed for the farm where the farmers claimed to have found space debris.
The astrophysicist drove to the farm, where together with his camera documented the process to later publish it on social networks. Tucker observed the object: “you can clearly see the charring, which would be expected from re-entry into the atmosphere.” Tucker pointed out that the piece of metal had areas that could have been designed for insulation and high temperatures. It could be a SpaceX Crew-1 capsule, the first operational manned flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which was part of NASA’s commercial crew program.
“Just got back from New South Wales! Was busy confirming that parts of a Crew-1 Space X capsule crashed into a farm!” the expert tweeted. Dr. Sara Webb, an astrophysicist at Swinburne University, agreed with Tucker about the origin of the object, although at the moment Space X has not confirmed that the finding is a part of his ship.
The Australian Space Agency (ASA) has assessed the debris and is working to support Tucker’s identification of space debris, collaborating with local authorities and parts of the Commonwealth, reports Guardian.
The astrophysicist, excited to have been able to observe the large object, commented that it was possibly the largest piece of debris documented in Australia since NASA’s Skylab space station, which plummeted to Earth over Esperance in Australia in 1979.
A few days ago something similar happened in the Indian Ocean, where the remains of the Chinese ship Long March 5B fell. Situations like this worry the scientific community, which stresses the importance of tracking space debris.