Mystery of unidentified mysterious cylinder washed up on beach claimed to have been ‘solved’
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An internet sleuth has apparently ‘solved’ the mystery surrounding the strange cylinder that washed up on a remote beach in Australia.
On Sunday (16 July) local residents at Green Head, a small town some 155 miles north of Perth, spotted something incongruous along the shore.
The mysterious item is a gold-coloured cylinder that has captured the imagination of netizens trying to guess where it came from.
Estimated to be 2.5 metres long and 2.5 metres while, it is believed to be made entirely by metal.
Some initial theories linked the object to the missing MH370 flight, but this was dismissed by Western Australia police, who confirmed that it did not originate from a commercial aircraft.
An amateur sleuth on Reddit, which seems to be the place where all the best theories originate, said the cylinder appears to be strangely similar to the third stage of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.
Dr Alice Gorman, an expert in space archaeology at Flinders University in Adelaide, also believes this theory.
Speaking to news.com.au, she explained: “When rockets are launched, the fuel tanks drop off and the fuel is expended and generally fall over the ocean, as this one did.
“It looks like it has been on the seafloor for some time, becoming a habitat for marine animals like barnacles. A storm probably dislodged it, a allowing it to be swept to shore.”
Dr Gorman settled all of our fears and said that the object ‘isn’t going to explode’ but added that rocket fuels are toxic.
“In general it’s better for people to avoid touching them,” she explained. “This one was solid fuel which is generally safe unless it’s actually burning.”
When the object was discovered, locals were urged to stay away from the beach until investigations concluded.
The Australian Space Agency has said it could be a part of a foreign-launched rocket, though the details currently remain unclear.
"We are currently making enquiries related to this object located on a beach near Jurien Bay in Western Australia," the agency tweeted.
"The object could be from a foreign space launch vehicle and we are liaising with global counterparts who may be able to provide more information."
Though Dr Gorman said the object didn’t come from a ‘recent launch’, explaining: “Statistically speaking, it’s likely to be from earlier in the last decade, as 33 PSLVs were launched in the 2010s.
“Space junk re-enters Earth’s atmosphere every day, but generally is completely burnt up and no-one sees it … While fuel tanks are the most common part to survive because they are made of very heat-resistant materials, you don’t see something this big and intact every day.”
WA police declared the object is ‘safe’ on Monday (17 July) following an analysis by the Department of Fire and Emergency Service and Chemistry Centre.
“An analysis of the object by the Department of Fire and Emergency Service and Chemistry Centre of Western Australia today has determined the object is safe and there is no current risk to the community,” WA Police said in a statement.
“This includes those who have come into contact with the object prior to it being reported to police on Sunday.”
Police are guarding the object while investigations continue to determine exactly what that thing actually is.