CANBERRA A cattle farmer in Australia's remote
northern outback on Friday said he had found a giant ball of
twisted metal, which he believes is space junk from a rocket
used to launch communications satellites.
Farmer James Stirton found the odd-shaped ball last year on
his 40,000 hectare property, about 800 kilometres (500 miles)
west of the northern Queensland state capital of Brisbane.
But Stirton only started inquiring into what the ball of
metal really was, and where it had come from, in the past week.
"I was riding out to check some cattle, and I came around
the corner and there it was in a paddock," Stirton told Reuters
"I know a lot of about sheep and cattle but I don't know
much about satellites. But I would say it is a fuel cell off
some stage of a rocket."
He said the object was hollow, and covered in a
carbon-fibre material. He has contacted some U.S.-based
aerospace companies to try to find out what the object really
Sydney's Powerhouse Museum said it was not uncommon for
people to find spacejunk in remote areas of Australia.
In 1979, large parts of the Skylab space station fell to
earth near a tiny outback town in Australia's west. A local
council sent NASA a ticket for littering and then United States
President Jimmy Carter rang a local motel to apologise.
(Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by David Fox)