A mysterious spacecraft, or at least a piece of one, has crashed in Australia and the government is urging people to stay away from it. In a statement shared on social media, the Australian Space Agency wrote, “We are currently making enquiries related to this object located on a beach near Jurien Bay in Western Australia. 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.”
The Australian Space Agency added, “As the origin of the object is unknown, the community should avoid handling or attempting to move the object. If the community spot any further suspected debris they should report it to local authorities and notify the Australian Space Agency via email@example.com .”
The Australian Space Agency is an agency under the Australian Government responsible for the development of Australia’s commercial space industry, coordinating domestic activities, identifying opportunities and facilitating international space engagement that include Australian stakeholders. Its headquarters, opened in February 2020, are located in Lot Fourteen in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia.
Officials have speculated what the object could be. It is possible that the large object and others like it washing up on the Australian shore are part of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle operated by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO.) Last Friday, people in Australia reported seeing a comet or UFO in the sky which turned out to be another Indian Space Research Organization rocket. But due to the growth of barnacles on the spacecraft part, scientists believe this mystery object was in water for many weeks or months, not days. Local officials have also dismissed the debris as having anything to do with missing flight MH370 which disappeared in 2014.
In recent years, the Australia Space Agency has announced a special partnership with the U.S.’s space agency, NASA. In October ’21, the Australian Government announced an agreement with NASA in which Australian researchers and scientists would build a rover that will be sent to the moon by 2026 as part of the Artemis mission.
The Australian Space Agency also wrote, “We are committed to the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, including debris mitigation, and continue to highlight this on the international stage.”
Some countries have been reprimanded by the U.S. and other foreign governments for the way they deal with their space and rocket debris. China allows spent rockets to tumble back to Earth out-of-control, including a recent one that went into Texas airspace. During that event, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson issued a statement condemning China’s approach of disposing spent rockets.
“Once again, the People’s Republic of China is taking unnecessary risks with the uncontrolled rocket stage reentry of their Long March 5B rocket stage. They did not share specific trajectory information which is needed to predict landing zones and reduce risk. This is the PRC’s fourth uncontrolled reentry since May 2020, and each of these reentries have been the largest in the last 30 years,” Nelson’s statement read.
China, Russia, India, and even the United States have had rockets and/or their debris tumble back to earth in recent years.