Space debris found on remote farmland more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of Sydney belongs to a craft built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the Australian Space Agency said.
Technical experts have visited the impact site in the Snowy Mountains, a wilderness area in New South Wales state, and confirmed the pieces came from a SpaceX mission, the agency said Thursday.
Among the images on local media, one shows a shard of darkened debris, wider and taller than an adult human, standing upright after apparently spearing into an open hillside. The parts belong to a SpaceX Crew-1 Trunk that reentered Earth’s atmosphere July 9, according to Brad Tucker, an astrophysicist from the Australian National University who visited the farm.
US space officials last month rebuked China after remnants of a massive Chinese rocket fell back to Earth over the Indian Ocean. Debris like that carried “a significant risk of loss of life and property,” NASA said.
Australia’s space agency warned the public not to handle or retrieve suspected space debris, advising them instead to contact SpaceX on its debris hotline. “The agency is committed to the long-term sustainability of outer-space activities, including debris mitigation,” it said.
Astrophysicist Tucker said on his YouTube channel that the parts are the largest collection of space junk found in Australia since 1979. SpaceX didn’t reply to an email asking if the company would pick up the pieces.