Elon Musk’s spacecraft debris recently landed in a farmer’s field in New South Wales, Australia. The 3-meter-long space debris is a piece of the SpaceX Crew-1 spaceship, launched in November 2020.
Mick Miners, a local, owned the farm where the debris landed. Mick’s family heard a big bang, so he walked into the field to investigate the source of the sound. From a distance, it appeared to be a tree. However, upon closer inspection, it seemed to be mechanical trash.
Miners notified local authorities, who contacted Brad Tucker, an Australian National University space expert. Tucker examined the strange-looking object and determined it was a piece of space junk.
Tucker explained the discovery on a radio show hosted by Australian journalist Ben Fordham, saying, “This is most likely space debris that was part of the SpaceX Crew-1 trunk.”
“SpaceX has this capsule that transports humans into space, but there is a bottom section, so when the astronauts come, they leave the bottom part in space before the capsule lands,” he explained.
Tucker tweeted the news, along with photos of the space debris, and said, “I just got back from Dalgety, NSW. I was concerned with establishing that fragments of a SpaceX Crew-1 crew capsule had crashed onto a couple of paddocks in rural New South Wales!”
The images indicate charring on the space junk, which can be predicted from the debris’s re-entry into the atmosphere. Most space debris was supposed to a drop into the ocean, according to Tucker. Still, several deviated off route, including one that became trapped in the paddock at a speed of approximately 25,000 kilometers 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.
Similar space debris landed on the neighboring farm of Jock Wallace. Given that it fell on the same day as the debris found on Mick’s farm, it is assumed to be a piece of the same debris.