Online experts appear to have solved the mystery of an enormous metal cylinder washed up on an Australian beach. The two metre tall object had sparked huge speculation as to its origins, prompting some wild theories involving UFOs. However, Reddit and Twitter sleuths claim the cylinder most likely fell from space – a claim which experts appear to agree with.
The metal object washed ashore in Green Head, Western Australia, on Sunday and was reported to police by beachgoers.
It was found lying on its side, with cables or wires dangling from its top.
Western Australia Police and the military began an investigation, saying the cylinder was being “treated as hazardous’.
Some people suggested it could belong to an aircraft, an observation which prompted others to immediately speculate it might be from the Malaysian airplane MH370, which disappeared in 2014.
However, police were quick to dismiss that idea, saying it could not have come from a “commercial aircraft”.
At this point online detectives started to question whether the cylinder may well belong to a space launch vehicle.
They argued that it probably was a fuel cylinder which was attached to an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, which had later fallen back to earth.
The theory seemed to be backed by the Australian Space Agency, which said the object most likely came from a “foreign space launch vehicle”.
Dr Alice Gorman, a space archaeologist, told news.com.au fuel tanks from launch vehicles normally fall over the ocean once they are no longer needed.
She said the cylinder had probably been lying on the seabed before a storm dislodged it, allowing it to be swept to shore.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is a rocket launcher designed, manufactured and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation.
After initial investigations, Australian police have said the cylinder is “safe” and poses no danger to the community.