Astronomer: Could be more space junk in the South East

August 1, 2022 9:50 am in by

Space Junk 2 CRED DrBradTucker

Farmers in the South East have been asked to check their paddocks for potential space Junk, after two larges pieces reportedly from the trunk of a SpaceX capsule were discovered south Of Cooma and Jindabyne.  

Astronomer at the Australian National University (ANU), Dr Brad Tucker, travelled to the South East over the weekend (of July 30th) to view the discovery that sheep farmers Mick Miners and Jock Wallace (pictured) made. 

Dr Tucker said they are some of the largest pieces of space junk to ever be found in Australia with an incident of this nature not recorded in the country since 1979.  

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“The only other time we’ve had something like this happen in Australia was in 1979 when the US Space Station SkyLab broke apart over Esperance in Western Australia and quite large pieces were found there,” Dr Tucker said. 

Listen to the full chat below with Astronomer from ANU, Dr Brad Tucker, about the space junk found in the South East. 

“Since then this is it, this is the largest pieces since there and it’s pretty much only the second time we could document it,” he continued.  

Only July 9 around 7am, a SpaceX Crew One Trunk (the bottom part of a SpaceX capsule that ferries astronauts up and down) was seen re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere over South East NSW. 

Space Junk 1 CRED DrBradTucker

“Lots of people heard bits of it breaking up, they heard a sonic boom and they saw bits of it, and a few of weeks later a couple of farmers found large fragments of what they believed were space junk,” Dr Tucker said. 

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“So when a capsule re-enters, they break apart into smaller pieces so they can land safely in the ocean but in this case it didn’t quite go to plan, with pieces found in Dalgety and a few new pieces found near Jindabyne. 

Space Junk 3 CRED DrBradTucker

“So there may appear to be even more bits of this SpaceX Trunk Capsule around the region.” 

Image Credit: Dr Brad Tucker