A ~4-ton rocket just slammed into the moon at almost 5,800 mph

The rocket stage designated WE0913A has crashed into the moon; NASA and India are due to observe the crater in the coming weeks.

Published Sat, Mar 5 2022 12:01 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Mar 31 2022 4:53 AM CDT

The identity and owner of the rocket has been a subject of the debate since its crash course towards the moon was confirmed.

Calculations of the rocket's trajectory by astronomer Bill Gray indicated that the rocket would strike the Moon's surface on March 4th at 12:25 UTC on the far side of the Moon, where it couldn't be directly observed to occur. Gray estimated that the impact would result in a crater about "10 or 20 meters across."

"We had lots (and lots) of tracking data for the object, and there is nothing acting on it except the forces of gravity and sunlight. Unless the object was removed by an occult hand, it hit the Moon this morning," said Gray.

The rocket was initially thought to be the remains of a SpaceX rocket, but upon further consideration, Gray believes it to be the third-stage booster of Chang'e 5-T1, a Chinese rocket launched in 2014. China has denied responsibility, claiming that booster "safely entered the Earth's atmosphere and was completely incinerated."

Both NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and India's Chandrayaan-2 will be able to image the crater, though they can only observe a given region on the Moon once a month. NASA wants to survey the crater but says it will take "weeks to months."

A ~4-ton rocket just slammed into the moon at almost 5,800 mph 01 | TweakTown.com
NEWS SOURCE:phys.org

Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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