Friday, March 28, 2008

Farmer finds mystery space junk

Farmer finds mystery space junk
Received from Matt

Friday, Mar 28, 2008 3:2PM UTC

CANBERRA (Reuters) - 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

Farmer James Stirton found the odd-shaped ball last year
on his 40,000
hectare property, about 800 kilometers (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
on Friday.

"I know a lot 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
He has contacted some U.S.-based aerospace
companies to
try to find out
what the object really is.

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 apologize.

(Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by David Fox)

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society