Part of a rocket launched 7 years ago will soon hit the Moon. Can it make a crater? See here

Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images (Illustrative photo)
Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images (Illustrative photo)

A rocket may reach the moon faster than NASA wants with the Artemis mission. Part of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched in 2015 could hit the moon in early March, somewhere on March 4, (2022). Bill Gray, who runs Project Pluto calculate and say that the impact can be at 7:25 a.m. EST at about 4.93 degrees north latitude and 233.20 degrees east longitude. And that will happen by mistake. The Falcon 9 booster is the one that should hit the front of the Moon, with approx. 2.58 km / s and a weight of 4 tons. 

It did not have enough fuel to return to Earth after completing its mission, so SpaceX did not go to pick it up and leave it in space, but now it will accidentally reach the surface of the Moon. Falcon 9's mission in 2015 was to launch a NOAA satellite, Deep Space Climate Observatory hopefully point L1 (~ 1 million miles from Earth). 

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell told BBC News it would be the first known uncontrolled rocket collision with the Moon. He also said the effects will be minor. 

Can this impact create a crater on the moon? 

Yes. If the Booster falls directly and frontally into the Moon, then it will be able to create due to its high speed, a crater, but an extremely small one, which most likely will not be seen from Earth. We know what it's like to fall a body into the Earth, no matter how small, it will create a crater, but due to the size of the Booster, the crater will be small and will not affect the Moon at all. It will be classified as a small artificial crater. 

McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the United States said that in these 7 years, the rocket has been walking "chaotically" because it was fired by either the gravitational force of the Earth, or the Moon, or the Sun. "It's been dead - just following the laws of gravity." he said.

"Over the decades there have been maybe 50 large objects that we have completely lost track of. This would have happened several times before, we just didn't notice. This would be the first confirmed case," he says. Professor McDowell. "It's basically an empty four-ton metal tank with a rocket engine on its back. So if you imagine throwing that at a rock at 5,000 miles an hour, it won't be happy," says Professor McDowell.

The place where the Booster will fall is still unclear, due to several phenomena that can happen until March 4. As well as the unpredictable effect of sunlight "pushing" on the rocket and ambiguity in measuring periods of rotation (it can change the orbit slightly). 

In any case, there are hopes for the future. Many believe that the impact formed will lead to the ejection of some rocks or the material of the Moon. Berger believes that the impact will allow the observation of the underground material that will be ejected by the impact of the booster. 

We will see what happens on March.

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 27 January 2022, at 07:57 am Los Angeles time

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