Was a space capsule found near Casa Grande? Kind of

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Little Boats of Hope via Facebook) (Source: Little Boats of Hope via Facebook)
(Source: Department of Public Safety) (Source: Department of Public Safety)
(Source: Department of Public Safety) (Source: Department of Public Safety)
(Source: Voices Through Art via Facebook) (Source: Voices Through Art via Facebook)
(Source: Voices Though Art via Facebook) (Source: Voices Though Art via Facebook)
CASA GRANDE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A piece of out-of-this-world art caused a bit of a stir near Casa Grande Monday.

The Department of Public Safety received calls at about 7:30 a.m. about an object that looked like it had fallen from the sky and landed in a field near eastbound Interstate 10 at milepost 190, which is near the McCartney Road exit.

A DPS trooper shot a photo of what appeared to be a space capsule like the ones that carried astronauts back to Earth from NASA’s earliest space missions, years before the shuttle program, which ended in 2011.

"It looks straight out of 1960s [sic] space videos," said one viewer who emailed us about the space capsule.

[SLIDESHOW: Casa Grande space capsule]

That space capsule, however, has never left Earth’s atmosphere and never carried an astronaut anywhere.

It was, once upon a time, used as a transport vehicle, though. For cement.

[RELATED: Arizona's newest roadside sideshow is out of this world]

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 response to our inquiries. “They attached a parachute and painted the tumbler to look like a space capsule. It is not known who the artist is.”

Actually, it is. There's a name painted below the "door" of the capsule -- Capt. J. Millard.

A bit of online reconnaissance led us to the Voices Through Art Facebook page and some posts documenting the creation of the Casa Grande space capsule over the weekend. There also was a selfie of the artist, Jack Millard, with DPS troopers posted Monday morning.

[WATCH: Artist Jack Millard talks about creating his space capsule]

Millard posted about creating the Casa Grande space capsule on Instagram, as well, explaining how he got permission from the owner of the land on which the cement mixer had been abandoned.

It looks straight out of 1960s [sic] space videos.

"It's not an original idea, but it's just making me laugh," Millard said, all smiles, in the Instagram video. "I'm going to paint that old cement mixer to make it look like a capsule that might have just crash landed next to the highway. I'm very excited by that."

And that's how a roadside art installation is born.

The space capsule is a different take on Millard's Little Boats of Hope pieces, which have popped up in various locations that are close to some kind of water source. 

"May it bring curiosity, wonderment, and a little joy to those who travel along that road," he wrote on the Little Boats of Hope Facebook page, describing the space capsule as "A different 'style' of little boat of hope."

According to Facebook, "Little Boats of Hope is ongoing art project to bring hope to the world in this time of uncertainty."

Millard's short film about his Little Boats of Hope pieces was screened at the Chandler International Film Festival last month.

[WATCH: "Little Boats of Hope" - A Voyage Through Grief, by Jack Millard]

Casa Grande is a little less than an hour southeast of Phoenix along I-10. The space capsule is near Exit 190, which is a few minutes north of Florence Boulevard and the Promenade at Casa Grande.

May it bring curiosity, wonderment, and a little joy to those who travel along that road.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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