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Out-of-control SpaceX rocket on collision course with moon

27.01.2022 04:07 AM
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Out-of-control SpaceX rocket on collision course with moon
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Out-of-control SpaceX rocket on collision course with moon
Astronomers have revealed that the SpaceX rocket, which launched into space nearly seven years ago, is now on its way to hitting the moon at the beginning of March.

The Falcon 9 rocket originally launched from Florida in February 2015 as part of an interplanetary mission to send a space weather satellite on a journey of more than 1 million kilometers from Earth.

But after completing a long burn of its engines and sending the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Deep Space Climate Observatory on its way to the so-called Lagrange Points, a gravity-neutral location four times our distance from the Moon and in direct line with the Sun, the second stage became From the deserted missile.

ArsTechnica reported that the second stage of the "Falcon 9" rocket belonging to the "SpaceX" company owned by American billionaire Elon Musk, completed a long burn of its engines before the deployment of the Deep Space Climate Observatory, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and did not have enough fuel left. to return them to Earth's atmosphere, as well as lacking the energy to escape the gravity of the Earth-Moon system, according to meteorologist Eric Berger in a post on Ars Technica. This has left the second stage of the rocket in a chaotic orbit around our planet since 2015.

Now, according to astronomers, the second stage of the rocket will hit the moon at 2.58 kilometers per second within weeks.

The impact is expected to occur on March 4, 2022, according to Bill Gray, who oversees Project Pluto software to track near-Earth objects, and the collision is likely to occur on the far side of the moon, near the equator.

In a recent post on the Ars Technica blog, the data analyst added that the object "made a close flyby of the moon on January 5" but would have "impact on March 4".

And last week, he noted, "This is the first unintended case of a lunar space junk hit, and I'm aware of it."

However, the exact location the rocket will hit remains unclear due to the unexpected effect of sunlight "pushing" the rocket and the "ambiguity in the measurement of rotational periods" that could slightly alter its orbit.

Gray called on space monitors to make more observations to help improve his calculations of the exact time and location of the impact ahead of time.

Unfortunately, it will not be possible to see the impact alive as the degraded rocket part is expected to hit the far side of the Moon, the part that does not face Earth. Instead, astronomers will rely on images from satellites, including NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, to view the impact of the crash.

By analyzing the crater from the impact, scientists hope to monitor the material below the surface that will be ejected by the impact to shed light on the composition of the moon.

It is noteworthy that as part of the LCROSS mission, in 2009 NASA smashed a booster rocket into the moon in the hope that it would learn something about what the debris left behind.
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