A piece of space junk from Elon Musk’s spacecraft recently crashed into a farmer’s field in New South Wales, Australia. The 3-metre-long space debris is reported to be a part of SpaceX Crew-1 spacecraft, which was launched in November 2020.
The farm where the debris crashed belonged to a resident named Mick Miners. Mick’s family heard a loud bang, after which, Mick went into the field to inspect the source of the noise. At first, it seemed like a tree from a distance. But on closer look, it appeared to be mechanical junk.
Miners informed the local authorities who then called Brad Tucker, a space expert at the Australian National University. Tucker inspected the strange-looking object and confirmed that it was a space debris which was part of SpaceX Crew-1. Explaining the find on a radio show hosted by Ben Fordham, an Australian journalist, Tucker said, “This is most definitely space junk which was part of the SpaceX Crew-1 trunk,” reported news.com.au.
He added, “SpaceX has this capsule that takes humans into space, but there is a bottom part…so when the astronauts come back, they leave the bottom part in space before the capsule lands.”
Sharing the news, along with pictures of the space debris, on his Twitter handle, Tucker wrote, “I just got back from Dalgety, NSW. I was busy confirming that parts of a SpaceX Crew-1 trunk capsule crashed into a few paddocks in rural NSW!” Take a look:
I just got back from Dalgety, NSW. I was busy confirming that parts of a @SpaceX Crew-1 Trunk capsule crashed into a few paddocks in rural NSW! More info to come:https://t.co/2VJzeYMhhn pic.twitter.com/sQsE4WAxRq
— Brad Tucker (@btucker22) July 29, 2022
In the pictures, the space junk clearly shows charring, which can be expected from the re-entry of the debris into the atmosphere. According to Tucker, most space debris was expected to land in the ocean but some derailed from course, including one that got lodged into the paddock at a speed of roughly 25,000 kilometres per hour.
“It is very rare to see because they do not 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 is more likely to be large pieces like this,” Tucker said.
A similar space junk also fell in the neighbouring farm that belonged to Jock Wallace. It is believed to be a part of the same debris since it fell on the same day as that of the one found on Mick’s farm.