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The family of farmer Mick Miners were alerted to the arrival of the object after they heard a loud bang coming from a sheep paddock on their property in the Snowy Mountains.
Miners said the junk, which measured about three metres in length, looked like a tree from a distance, but after closer inspection the authorities called Australian National University space expert Brad Tucker to inspect the strange find.
Tucker discussed the incident on the radio today (1 August), saying it was 'most definitely space junk which was part of the SpaceX Crew-1 trunk'.
“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," he explained.
Residents living in southern New South Wales also reported hearing a large bang when the object crashed to earth, with some even claiming they had seen an explosion when it hit the ground.
A neighbouring farmer, Jock Wallace, also found a similar foreign object had crash landed on his own farm on the same day, though thankfully neither his home or Miners' were damaged in the incidents.
The arrival of the space junk comes as the Crew-1 craft begins its deorbit after almost two years in space. Most space debris is intended to break apart, or is originally planned to land in the ocean.
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
Tucker explained: "We saw most pieces land in the ocean, but clearly some hadn’t because this 3m piece was speared into the ground from space.
“In photographs of the debris, you can clearly see charring, which you would expect from re-entry (into the atmosphere). 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.”
Now that the object has been identified, Tucker said the Australian Space Agency has taken over the case because there is 'actually a legal protocol', as the object still technically belongs to SpaceX.
"We assume they don't want it back because the whole point was to break in the ocean," he continued. "Now if SpaceX said they want it back, well then they have to essentially pay Mick and Jock to get it all back."
If the two farmers are given permission to keep the junk, Tucker suggested they may be able to give it to a museum or even sell it on eBay.
Featured Image Credit: Mick Miners/Facebook/SpaceX
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