A giant piece of metal found outside an Indonesian village is believed to be part of China’s out-of-control Long March 5B rocket that plummeted through the atmosphere on Sunday.
Officials found the charred fragment Monday after Pengadang residents reported hearing “a loud roar from the sky” around midnight local time. The area is now closed to the public for fear that the metal is radioactive.
The object is 16 feet long and seven feet wide and appears to be lightweight as a video shows a single man being able to pick it up from the ground.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told DailyMail.com, “This is one of the domed ends of the propellant tanks. I have no doubt that this is part of the Chinese rocket stage.
“In addition, it was found right on the return path, which increases credibility.”
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Residents of the Pengadang reported hearing “a loud roar from the sky” around midnight local time. Officials later found a large piece of metal on the ground
The Long March 5B rocket was launched on July 24 to deliver the Wentian module to China’s Tiangong space station, which the country hopes to complete by the end of this year.
It is expected to have a mass between 180,000 and 220,000 pounds — about one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station, which is 925,335 pounds.
Although the module was successfully delivered, the 25-ton core trap had no fixed return location and fell back to Earth.
Because the booster stage whizzed around Earth’s orbit every 90 minutes, the exact point it would fall from the sky was impossible to predict.
A Harvard University astronomer told DailyMail.com it’s part of the fuel tank
The Long March 5B rocket launched on July 24 (pictured) to deliver the Wentian module to China’s Tiangong space station
Fortunately, most of the rocket burned up in the atmosphere, but up to 40 percent of it was predicted to survive the fall from space, and now reports of South Asia are beginning to surface.
McDowell shared a tweet on Monday: ‘So, CZ-5B [Long March 5B] Summary: Significant debris falls in Kalimantan, Indonesia and [Sarawak]Malaysia (both in Borneo).
“No casualties or property damage reported, but debris is near villages and a few hundred yards either way could have been a different story.”
Officials say they have sealed off the clearing outside Pengadan where the metal piece was found and are asking people to stay well away in case radioactive materials lurk in the rubble. Borneo Post reports.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told DailyMail.com that the debris was found right on the return path, increasing credibility.
Reports also state that there were no injuries from the debris, which could have been the exact opposite if the missile fragments had fallen on a densely populated area. Initially, parts of Mexico, South America and the Philippines were under the potential return zone.
The uncertainty led to a pronunciation from NASA administrator Bill Nelson on Saturday, who criticized China for its blatant disregard for public safety.
“All space countries should follow established best practices and do their part to share this kind of information in advance to enable reliable predictions of the potential risk of debris impact, especially for heavy vehicles, such as the Long March 5B, which pose a significant risk with bring along. of the loss of life and property,” Nelson said in a press release.
“This is crucial for the responsible use of space and to ensure the safety of people here on Earth.”
The metal is 16 feet long and seven feet wide and appears to be lightweight as a video shows a single man being able to pick it up from the ground
While some pieces survived the fall, most crashed into the Indian Ocean. These remains were beautifully displayed in the night sky as they disintegrated over Malaysia (pictured)
US Space Command confirmed that the debris re-entered the atmosphere earlier Saturday at about 12:45 p.m. ET, with all questions about the precise location of debris reentry and dispersal being referred to the Chinese government.
While some pieces survived the fall, most crashed into the Indian Ocean.
And these remains were beautifully displayed in the night sky as they disintegrated over Malaysia.
A video posted on July 30, shared by a Twitter user who initially thought it was a meteorite, shows the craft racing through the sky before burning up in the atmosphere on its return.
Many in the replies to the original poster speculated that it was the debris from the original rocket that reached its natural end.