When artist Jack Millard came across an abandoned cement mixer off Interstate 10 East in Arizona, he decided it would make the perfect art project.

"I just get these impulses to create," he told USA Today. "It's a glorified yard ornament."

After getting permission from the owners of the derelict mixer, Millard teamed up with another artist named Ren Eide to transform the object into an extremely realistic space capsule. In addition to painting the outside silver and adding such details as an American flag and scorch marks on the underside, the duo attached a parachute acquired from a military surplus store.

Not long after the project was completed, the Arizona Department Public of Safety started receiving calls from concerned motorists that something strange was sitting alongside the highway.

“This item had a parachute attached, so it looked like a space capsule that had fallen down. We don’t know who did it, but it’s there,” DPS spokesman Quentin Mehr said in an earlier statement.

Millard's art piece was so convincing that at one point even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was called in to investigate.

As for the space capsule's future, Millard has no plans to move it. His biggest hope it that it will continue to inject a little wonder into people's lives.

"If they enjoy it, that's great," he added. "We live in such a cynical, jaded world. If it distracts them for a moment, that's a wonderful thing."

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Artist's roadside oddity turns heads in Arizona
Jack Millard gave a derelict cement mixer new life as an abandoned space capsule along Arizona's Interstate 10.