JURIEN BAY, Australia – A large cylinder object that washed ashore on a beach in Western Australia is now believed to be debris from a rocket, according to the country’s space agency.
The Australian Space Agency said the metallic object was found along a beach about 150 miles north of Perth, near Jurien Bay.
After beachgoers spotted the giant object, authorities urged the community not to handle or attempt to move the debris.
The cylinder appears to be several feet wide and has a layer of barnacles, which could indicate the object was in the Indian Ocean for a while.
"Contrary to speculation, there is no evidence to support the theory that the object is connected in any way to a commercial aircraft. After extensive consultation with state and national agencies with expertise in maritime, aviation, defence and space industries, it is believed the object is related to a rocket system," the Western Australia Police Force stated.
After an analysis by the ASA, the agency determined the object was likely part of a rocket motor casing.
Australia’s space agency still hasn’t determined what country’s rocket was responsible for the debris, and there have been no recent reports of debris spotted raining down through the atmosphere.
"We’re continuing the process of identifying the type of rocket & its origin through ongoing engagement with our global counterparts," the ASA said.
Space debris falling through Earth’s atmosphere is an increasingly common problem, with more than 40 space agencies now operating worldwide, according to the United Nations.
China has come under scrutiny during recent years for not publicly sharing trajectory information on uncontrolled reentries of space debris.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson previously stated the country was responsible for some of the largest pieces of space debris over the last three decades.
So far, no agency has publicly claimed ownership of the debris that was recently removed from the beach.