Psst, India, You May Have Dropped Something

Large, mysterious cylinder washes up on Australian beach, and it may be space junk
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2023 6:15 AM CDT
Updated Jul 22, 2023 3:00 PM CDT
Weird Cylinder Washes Up on Australian Beach
In this image made from video, a cylindrical object is seen on beach in Green Head, Australia, July 17, 2023.   (CHANNEL 9 via AP)

The mystery of a large and unidentified object that baffled beachgoers in Australia may have been solved: Authorities suspect the cylindrical object is a piece of junk from a foreign rocket, reports ABC Australia. The whatever-it-is is about the size of a small car, notes the AP, and it washed up on a beach at Green Head, about 155 miles north of Perth. The discovery set off an online guessing game, with many suggesting it fell off a commercial plane. The leading contender now, however, is that it's from a rocket.

"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," tweeted the Australian Space Agency. Alice Gorman of Australia's Flinders University gets more specific: "It is identical in dimension and materials" to the third phase of rockets launched by India to put satellites into space, per CNN. India has not confirmed. Given its collection of barnacles, the object may have been in the ocean for five to 10 years before landing on the beach. Police are trying to keep people away, and Gorman offers some related life advice: "Just as general rule, you don't touch space junk unless you need to." (More Australia stories.)

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