The second stage of the SpaceX rocket that launched seven years ago will crash into the moon’s surface in March, according to experts, who have recalculated the trajectory of this object left in space.
The rocket was used in 2015 to orbit a climate-monitoring satellite on Earth, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR).
Astronomer Bill Gray, who discovered the new path, told AFP Wednesday that the second stage used to propel it floats in the universe in an orbit that mathematicians have dubbed “chaos.”
The object passed close to the moon in early January, altering its orbit, this person in charge of “Project Pluto” called “Project Pluto,” a program that allows calculating the paths of asteroids and other objects used by NASA-funded observing programs.
A week later, the expert was able to observe the remnants of the rocket again and realized that it should collide with the other side of the moon on March 4.
After appealing to the community of amateur astronomers to make new observations, the data was confirmed. The exact time and place in minutes and kilometers can still be changed, but the collision is certain.
“I’ve been tracking space junk like this for about 15 years, and this is the first unintended impact on the lunar surface” to be detected, he said.
The impact of this nearly four-ton object would not be visible from Earth when it occurred.
But it is expected to cause a crater that scientists, including NASA’s LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) or India’s Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, can later see, to learn more about lunar geology.
Spaceships have been deliberately launched on the Moon for scientific purposes in the past. In 2009, NASA sent a second-stage rocket to crash into an area near the South Pole to study the presence of water.
But most rockets are launched at a lower distance, typically allowing the second stage of SpaceX’s rockets to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, where they collapse over the ocean.
However, these unplanned lunar effects could multiply in the future, according to Bill Gray, particularly because of the things US or Chinese lunar programs will leave behind.
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