The unidentified object was reported to police by residents near Green Head town in the Mid West coast on Sunday afternoon.
Western Australia police said they are trying to determine the object’s origin and nature and are treating it as “hazardous”.
They do not believe the object originated from a commercial aircraft and urged people to refrain from drawing conclusions, as several rumours linked it to UFOs while others to the missing Malaysian MH370 flight.
“We want to reassure the community that we are actively engaged in a collaborative effort with various state and federal agencies to determine the object’s origin and nature,” WA police said.
“This measure has been taken to ensure the preservation of potential evidence and facilitate further expert examination.”
Social media videos showed the copper-coloured object appeared to be in a damaged state. It appeared to be a part of a larger object as its bottom half seemed to be ripped from its origin, with wires and cables coming off it.
“The object is being treated as hazardous, until the origin of it can be established,” the police said. “People in the area should keep a safe distance.”
The two-metre-long cylindrical object covered in barnacles was found on a remote beach north of Jurien Bay.
WA Today reported that police are working with the military to identify the object.
The Australian Space Agency, which is also part of the investigation, said it was looking into the possibility that it could be a part of a foreign space launch vehicle.
“The agency is working to confirm whether the object could be part of a foreign space launch vehicle that has washed up on shore, and liaising with global counterparts who may be able to provide information about the object,” a spokesperson for the agency said.
“As the origin of the object is unknown, the community should avoid handling or attempting to move the object.”
Experts said that the object could be a part of India’s satellite launch to the moon. It is suspected to be the fuel tank of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket. The latest PSLV mission was the PSLV-55 that was successfully launched in April this year.
“When a rocket launches, there’s usually multiple stages and often the first few parts separate before entering orbit, so if it is space junk, it is from the early parts of a rocket launch as there’s no evidence of the scorching patterns you would see on things that have re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere,” Australian National University astrophysicist Brad Tucker told WA Today.
This is a second sighting of an object within three weeks after a mysterious missile-shaped object was found floating offshore North Beach in Perth in June.
Australian Defence Force personnel had to detonate the device, which was found to be a marker marine flare. These are safety devices used by sea vessels to send distress signals during emergencies.
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