| 17.2°C Dublin

Enormous debris from SpaceX craft crashes in Australia

Close

Space debris found on farmland in New South Wales, Australia. Photo: Brad Tucker

Space debris found on farmland in New South Wales, Australia. Photo: Brad Tucker

Space debris found on farmland in New South Wales, Australia. Photo: Brad Tucker

A strange capsule thought to be part of a SpaceX craft has crashed into farmland in Australia.

The debris was found scattered across some paddocks near the town of Dalgety in New South Wales at 7am on Saturday when it landed in on the property of sheep farmer Mick Miners.

Mr Miners called neighbour Jock Wallace who requested guidance from Australia’s civil aviation authority – but they told him to contact Nasa.

"I’m a farmer from Dalgety, what am I going to say to NASA?" Mr Wallace told ABC.

It is believed that the carbon and aluminium debris came from a capsule which had splashed down to Earth in May. It is likely to have come from the unpressurised crew trunk of the craft, travelling at around 25,000 kilometres per hour.

At almost three metres high, it is possibly the largest piece of documented debris in Australia since a piece of Nasa’s Skylab station crashed in 1979.

"In photographs of the debris you can clearly see charring, which you would expect from re-entry," said Brad Tucker, astrophysicist at the Australian National University College of Science. "It is very rare to see, because they don’t usually land on land, but in the ocean.

"People often think they find small pieces of space junk, but they would burn up on re-entry, so it’s more likely to be large pieces like this,” he added.

SpaceX did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment before time of publication.

Researchers believe there is a significant chance someone will be killed by a rocket falling to Earth in the next decade.

A new assessment of the danger posed to human life by out-of-control rockets says there is a roughly 10pc chance that one or more casualties will be caused in the next 10 years.

The risk of such death is more likely in the global south – such as Jakarta, Dhaka and Lagos - than they are in New York, Beijing or Moscow. That said, in 2020, a Long March-5B rocket came around 13 minutes of hitting New York.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required


Most Watched





Privacy