SpaceX Rocket Is on a Collision Course With the Moon

SpaceX Rocket Is on a Collision Course With the Moon

Unfortunately, not all space missions prove to be successful. While we’re all waiting for astronomers to gather more information about the Moon so that they’ll land humans there once again after a few decades, the possibility for some spacecraft to crash there is real.

According to The Guardian, a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX is on a collision course with our natural satellite, and the impact will occur on March 4. The spacecraft spent its last seven years since its launch from Florida hurtling through space. It had the mission of sending a space-weather satellite on a long cosmic journey.

The SpaceX rocket is now out of control

It’s obvious that astronomers wouldn’t crash the spacecraft on purpose. The rocket broke out of control after it send the NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory to the Lagrange point, meaning a point of equilibrium for objects of small masses under the influence of two objects of high mass that are orbiting. The rocket didn’t have enough fuel to return home, and it also was found in the impossibility of escaping the gravity of the Earth-Moon system.

The collision will occur on the far side of the Moon and near the equator. It’s impossible to tell where exactly the spacecraft will hit. The sunlight influencing the rocket in an unpredictable way and not getting to measure rotation periods are major hindrances in figuring out the exact collision spot.

Bill Gray, who plays a major role in identifying objects that come close to Earth, wrote the following: 

These unpredictable effects are very small. But they will accumulate between now and 2022 March 4, and we’d really like to determine the impact location as precisely as possible, so that the the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Chandrayaan-2 folks can find the crater (and, if we’re lucky, maybe image the impact).

Luckily enough, there’s no spacecraft on a collision course with Earth, as far as we know!

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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