A piece of rocket debris has been found washed up on the Isles of Scilly, just off the southwest tip of Britain. Until recently, space geeks and authorities were struggling to identify the part. However, the Internet sleuths over at Reddit seem to have come to a solid conclusion.
The space debris appears to have provoked confusion since the moment it was spotted. Joseph Thomas discovered it off the north part of the island on November 26. He initially thought the piece of debris, which measures 10 meters by 4 meters (33 feet by 13 feet), was a dead whale because it was covered in goose barnacles.
Speaking to BBC News, Thomas said he subsequently thought “it was part of a plane, but then we scraped the barnacles off and we saw it was part of a rocket.”
The debris is now thought to be from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 CRS-4 mission that was launched in September 2014 to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
Initial reports believed it was part of the SpaceX CRS-7 that exploded shortly after take-off early this year in July. However, Reddit launched their own “investigation,” in which one user, __R__, noticed subtle differences on CRS-4’s falcon logo that matched up with images from the washed-up British debris.
Image credit: _R_/Reddit