Falcon 9 debris
A fragment of one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket stages fell on a farm in Washington state last week, according to the local sheriff's office on Friday.
The farm owner, who does not want his name mentioned, discovered the fallen piece, which left a "four-inch dent in the soil", on his property last weekend and called the police. To check things out, a sergeant from the local police department visited him on Monday. "Neither the property owner nor our sergeant are rocket scientists, of course, but based on what happened a few days earlier, they thought it might be debris from the Falcon 9 re-entry into space", commented a county sheriff's office spokesperson on the find.
The sergeant called SpaceX, where police confirmed that the debris did appear to belong to them and sent officers to retrieve it. According to the portal, SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.
According to local authorities, the high-pressure, composite-shell tank fell as the Falcon 9 second stage collapsed over Oregon and Washington on March 26 in what looked like an alien invasion. The stage re-entered the atmosphere in an unusual location after sending SpaceX's Starlink satellites into orbit.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics Centre, followed the second stage and said that its re-entry was not a surprise, but the time and place of re-entry was. He said: "It's a bit odd that the stage didn't come out of orbit under control back on March 4 something seems to have gone wrong, but SpaceX didn't say anything about it".