Officials in Texas said they have found debris from the shuttle Columbia in Lake Nacogdoches, 250 kilometres northeast of Houston.
Columbia broke apart when re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere on February 1, 2003, killing all seven crew members onboard.
Texas is suffering a record drought and local police sergeant Greg Sowell said the falling levels of Lake Nacogdoches revealed an unexpected object.
“We found a large, about four foot diameter, round, what appears to be a tank of some sort,” Sowell said. “We have reason to believe this may be a part of the Columbia Space Shuttle.”
“Due to the drought, Lake Nacogdoches is at an approximately nine-foot (three metres) low,” Sowell said. “There has been an unusually large area of the lake which is normally underwater which has been exposed.”
NASA said the tank was part of Columbia’s power-producing fuel cell system and it is working with local authorities to recover it.