A large object appearing to be a space capsule marked with “United States” caused a commotion along an Arizona interstate on Monday.
The metal drum with an attached parachute appeared so realistic that even a former NASA engineer reported it. Others called 9-1-1 to report what appeared to be an extraterrestrial delivery.
It turned out however, that the remarkable sight was a piece of installation art made from an old cement mixer and a vintage parachute.
“It appears an artist got creative near Casa Grande and turned a cement truck drum into a space capsule! Caused a stir on #I10 this morning,” the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) tweeted, along with a photo.
The department confirmed that they had sent someone to investigate.
“Upon inspection, troopers found that someone had placed the tumbler assembly from a cement truck in a field,” DPS spokesman Quentin Mehr wrote in an email to AZ Family. “They attached a parachute and painted the tumbler to look like a space capsule. It is not known who the artist is.”
The artist, it turns out, is Jack Millard, 53, of Scottsdale. He was driving from Phoenix to Tucson for a Gem and Mineral Show when he spotted the abandoned mixer in a field off the interstate and decided to liven it up.
“I think it’s going to be known as the ‘Casa Grande Capsule,’ ” Millard told AZ Central. “The cement mixer was abandoned there for 30 years just rusting in the field,” he added.
Before painting it, he reached out to the owners to get approval. Skeptical at first, the owners came around. “I think they were tickled by the idea,” he said.
“I just get these impulses to create,” he said. “It’s a glorified yard ornament.”