When Mick Myners, a farmer from New South Wales in southeastern Australia, first saw a large black object poking out of the ground on part of his land, he thought it was a dead tree.
But after looking at it more closely and checking with some experts, he discovered that it was something fell from space
The Australian Space Agency (ASA) later said it came from a SpaceX capsuleBillionaire Elon Musk’s company.
Experts described the discovery “Rare” and “sOrexciting”But he said such incidents may become more common in the future.
The object fell in the area on July 9, but was not found by Farmer Mick Miners until several weeks later.
Two more pieces were later found nearby, and the ASA asked anyone who finds more material to contact SpaceX’s special debris hotline.
Astrophysicist Brad Tucker of the Australian National University was invited to study the farm object.
He is often called upon to conduct similar investigations, most of which result in pieces that are not space debris.
“It was really exciting to see it all up close. I’ve never seen space debris fall like this“, he said in a video.
Dan Polacco, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Warwick in England, agreed that it is extremely rare for space debris to land.
Every day they fall from space to Earth, he explained. Most affect the oceansThese cover most of the planet.
Also, in 1997 in Oklahoma, USA, the only recorded case was that of Lottie Williams, who was uninjured when a piece of space debris landed on her shoulder.
Other incidents in 2020 include buildings in Côte d’Ivoire damaged by fragments from Chinese rockets.
However, discoveries on the ground Can be very commonIn particular, the number of rockets sent into space has increased tremendously in recent years.
The sun also moves in a more active cycle, Professor Pollacko added, creating a knock-on effect, causing more debris to fall to Earth.
Perhaps most alarming is a study published in July by Canada’s University of British Columbia that found there is a 10% chance one or more people will die from space debris in the next decade.
But Professor Pollacko says Possible One person is still injured “Almost Zero”.
“I don’t think people should panic. The chance of being hit by one of these things is incredibly small,” he said.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to the BBC’s request for comment.
Remember that You can get updates from BBC World. Download the latest version of our app and activate it so that you never miss our best content.