Beachgoers in Jurien Bay, Western Australia, were warned recently to avoid a mysterious object that had been discovered on the shore, as they believed it may be debris from a foreign space launch vehicle.
The cylindrical object, which measures more than eight feet across and nearly ten feet long, is composed of a light carbon fiber material, such as lightweight resin. After spotting it bobbing in the water, local residents had dragged the object out with their four-wheel drive vehicle. This prompted speculation that the cylinder could have come from India’s April 2023 satellite launch to the moon.
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.
[More in comments] pic.twitter.com/41cRuhwzZk
— Australian Space Agency (@AusSpaceAgency) July 17, 2023
Australian authorities warned the public of the strange object, and the Australian Space Agency took to Twitter to make a statement saying, “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. As the origin of the object is unknown, the community should avoid handling or attempting to move the object. We are committed to the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, including debris mitigation, and continue to highlight this on the international stage.”
Western Australia police stood watch on the site for most of the day to ensure that no one took the mystery cylinder. After government agencies investigated the object, it became clear that it posed no threat to the public.
The cylinder could have come from India’s recent satellite launch in April 2023, which included satellites weighing 741 and 16 kilograms, respectively. Indian Space Research Organisation reported that it belonged to Singapore.
It’s believed that the object could be from one of the first stages of rocket launch, as there’s no indication of scorching patterns from re-enteing the Earth’s atmosphere. Australian National University astrophysicist, Brad Tucker, explained that “When a rocket launches, there’s usually multiple stages and often the first few parts separate before entering orbit.”
Beachgoers are being reminded to be patient and to stay away from the site, as government agencies continue to investigate the mystery object. For now, it seems to be a harmless reminder of the superpower’s effort to explore the outer space, but it definitely gives beachgoers something to think about before getting too close.
Last friday, people in Australia reported seeing a comet/UFO in the sky which turned out to be the LVM3 rocket that launched #Chandrayaan3.
— Debapratim (@debapratim_) July 17, 2023