“I had no idea. I don’t build spaceships for a living. I farm.”

Space Junk Fundraiser

A gigantic piece of a rocket crashed down on a rural farm in Saskatchewan — and the story only gets more Canadian from there.

Local farmer Barry Sawchuk discovered the charred, 88-pound chunk of composite fibers while weeding his fields, the CBC reports.

“We thought originally it was just garbage,” he told the broadcaster. “But I had no idea. I don’t build spaceships for a living. I farm.”

Sawchuk is now hoping to sell the piece — and use the proceeds to raise money for a hockey rink that’s being built in his town of Ituna, Saskatchewan.

“That’s where I was born and raised, so why not?” he told the CBC.

Death Trap

According to the report, a group of astronomy reporters traced the massive piece of space junk to a SpaceX rocket that launched in February. Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell suggested the find was linked to a Dragon spacecraft that returned a crew of four from the International Space Station.

While many of these parts are designed to burn up during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, they can also survive the trip and hit the Earth below.

Statistically, space debris is most likely to splash down in an ocean, but every once in a while these pieces can drop down on inhabited places as well. In 2022, a sheep farmer in New South Wales, Australia discovered what appeared to be a jettisoned piece once belonging to a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

At terminal velocity, space junk can do real damage. Last month, NASA admitted that a piece of the International Space Station crashed through the roof of Alejandro Otero’s home in Naples, Florida — narrowly missing his son, who was sleeping two rooms away.

And that piece was a mere 1.6 inches in diameter. The piece recovered by Sawchuk was far larger.

“It’s really just luck,” University of Regina astronomy professor Samantha Lawler told the CBC. “If that had hit in the middle of Regina or, yeah, New York City, it very easily could have killed someone.”

Experts have since called for more stringent rules when it comes to launching satellites and the reentry of human-made objects.

More on space junk: Japanese Spacecraft Chases Down Derelict Rocket


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