HomeScienceIt turns out that a rocket hit the moon was not from...

It turns out that a rocket hit the moon was not from SpaceX. so, what is it?


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Illustration based on the flight path of a Chinese rocket about to hit the far side of the moon.

Astronomers have discovered a strange object in deep space. They are not extraterrestrials, but most likely a rocket object of Earth origin. But what missile is it? How did you get there? Why would you hit the moon?

First spotted in 2015, astronomers thought the object might be a near-Earth asteroid, a natural mass of rock or metal that sometimes veers off near our planet. But additional observations revealed that it was a neglected missile body.

This mysterious object was largely forgotten until last month when astronomer Bill Gray decided it was on a Of course a collision with the moon. Gray calculated that the old rocket will hit the moon’s surface on March 4, 2022.

Which missile is it?

There are tons of neglected rocket objects in space and most of their paths are known. Gray first assumed it was an expendable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched in 2015 that carried a satellite into space, then didn’t have enough fuel to return to Earth. But John Giorgoni, a NASA engineer, discovered that the mysterious rocket could not be from SpaceX.

so what He is He. She?

Now, astronomers believe the likely culprit is Chinese Long March 3C . missilewhich launched the Chang’e-5 T1 spacecraft in 2014.

If true, the Long March 3C rocket body has been orbiting the Solar System for more than seven years. Slowly, it will be pulled into the moon’s gravity and will crash into the other side of the moon at about 5,700 miles per hour.

Will we be able to watch the accident?

Unfortunately, since it will affect a side of the Moon that is not visible from Earth, we will not be able to observe the eruption with backyard telescopes. While that, Astronomers hope to watch the fall using robotic crafts orbiting the moon. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and India’s Chandrayaan 2 may be positioned to monitor the impact site, and hopefully, crash itself.

Although the surface of the Moon is heavily pierced, it is extremely rare to see anything hitting the Moon. Very few impacts have been filmed from Earth, but LRO images captured over time have recently been revealed. Over 200 new impact holes.

NASA’s Lunar Impact Monitoring Program monitors the dark parts of the moon for flashes of light — tell-tale signs of a meteor hitting the lunar surface at 45,000-160,000 miles per hour.

How will this mysterious object affect the moon? What size hole are you going to make? Tune in on March 4th to see the explosion. Stay informed at

Dean Regas is an astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory and author of Facts From Space! and “100 things you see in the night sky”. He can be reached at [email protected]


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