What’s next for space debris found in North Carolina mountains

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer and astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, was closely monitoring debris from the Dragon spacecraft around the time that the piece of carbon fiber was found on a mountain in Clyde, North Carolina.

CLYDE, N.C. – What was expected to be a normal day of mowing and maintenance of trails at a private mountain resort in rural North Carolina turned into anything but with the discovery of a piece of space debris.

The Glamping Collective is a company that owns and operates cabins and other living quarters on a private mountaintop about 20 minutes west of Asheville.

Groundskeepers were busy preparing the normally tranquil site for the Memorial Day weekend when they came across the foreign object.

"There’s an indentation visible where it hit, but there’s no crater, no damage to trees or anything like that. Most of the mountain is heavily wooded, but it landed in a non-wooded area. Honestly, we probably never would have found it if it had landed in the wooded areas," Matt Bare, founder and owner of The Glamping Collective, told FOX Weather.

The debris was unlike anything the crew had seen before, with unique bolts and the appearance of carbon fiber.


The groundskeepers put the object, estimated to measure about 4 feet wide and weigh 100 pounds, on a lawnmower before taking it to a secure facility on the mountain.

Bare said he reached out to aerospace experts to find out exactly where the debris came from, but he hadn’t heard back.

Through sleuths on social media, the collective and the public at large learned that where the debris was found was not that big of a surprise, as space experts such as Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer, and astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, were busy tracking the foreign object.

According to McDowell, the SpaceX Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station, which concluded about two months before, left the trunk in space to disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere.

Most of the trunk from the Dragon spacecraft burned up, leaving only a small but mighty piece that survived reentry and reached the ground.

Encounters with debris from other space missions have recently occurred in Australia and Canada, but no injuries or damage have been reported.


FOX Weather reached out to both NASA and SpaceX about the latest discovery, but no one appears to be talking about this latest episode.

Bare says they will soon have their piece of space history in a protective covering for people to see.

Unfortunately, due to limited parking at the resort, which has overnight accommodations for only around 60 people, the collective plans to make the debris only viewable to guests.

"We are going to do it in a way that is safe for people to see it and be able to get close to it without having to worry about getting any residue or cuts from it," Bare stated.

The Glamping Collective is open year-round, but the owner says they are the busiest during the peak of fall foliage in October.