A bulky barnacle-encrusted cylinder has baffled authorities since washing up on an Australian beach, with the country's space agency suggesting Tuesday it could be debris from a foreign rocket launch.
The object, which measures some two metres (six feet) high with cables dangling from the top, was recently spotted near remote Jurien Bay, a coastal region two hours' drive north of state capital Perth, reports AFP.
Police -- who cordoned off the canister while it was tested for toxic material -- have shut down online speculation that it could be linked to the 2014 disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
"At this early stage it appears the object did not originate from a commercial aircraft," police said in a statement.
The Australian Space Agency said it was investigating whether the canister may be part of a "foreign space launch vehicle that has washed up on shore".
"As the origin of the object is unknown, the community should avoid handling or attempting to move the object," the agency said in a statement.
A charred chunk of debris from one of Elon Musk's SpaceX missions was discovered jutting out of a paddock by an Australian sheep farmer last year.
"It was kind of exciting and weird all in the same way," astrophysicist Brad Tucker told AFP at the time, after inspecting the SpaceX debris.