A mysterious object that washed up on an Australian beach has been identified as debris from an Indian rocket.
The barnacle-encrusted device, which is about the size of a small car, was found in mid-July at Green Head, a town about 250km (155 miles) north of Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
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It attracted the attention of curious locals, who gathered to pose for photos before police arrived and cordoned off the area.
The Australian Space Agency said it had concluded the object was “most likely debris from an expended third-stage of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)”.
We have concluded the object located on a beach near Jurien Bay in Western Australia is most likely debris from an expended third-stage of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
The PSLV is a medium-lift launch vehicle operated by @isro.
[More in comments] pic.twitter.com/ivF9Je1Qqy
— Australian Space Agency (@AusSpaceAgency) July 31, 2023
The Indian Space Research Organisation operates the medium-lift launch vehicle, the agency added.
The object, which measures some 2 metres (6.6 feet) high and has cables dangling from the top, is being kept in storage.
Officials from both countries are working together to “provide further confirmation to determine next steps, including considering obligations under the United Nations space treaties”, the Australian Space Agency said.
It is not the first time Australia has found itself a landing ground for space junk.
Last August, a sheep farmer in New South Wales found a charred chunk from one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX missions jutting out of his paddock.