In March, rocket debris crashed on the moon.
©Juan BARRETO / AFP
Rocket debris crashed into the opposite side of the moon on March 4, creating a double crater. NASA endeavors to explain this discovery, as well as the identity of the owner of this debris.
Atlantic: In February, NASA astronomers discovered the body of a rocket headed for the Moon. On March 4th the NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified the site of the impact. The problem is that NASA is unable to identify this rocket or where it came from. What are the possible scenarios or culprits?
Anna Alter: Our neighboring space has become a dustbin of the history of space conquest: millions of debris, remnants of rockets and pieces of old satellites lie around our planet. Since Sputnik’s first flight in 1957, we haven’t stopped getting dirty by throwing darts and containers on our way to the cosmos. Hard to know who did what, who went up there behaved as if the sky belonged to them and everyone threw their bulky objects there … Due to the space race, our celestial environment is polluted and these objects abandoned they hang precariously above our heads. The debris that falls from orbit regularly disintegrates in the atmosphere and pieces of spaceship end up on the ground or splash into the ocean … Others like this rocket body are thrown away and attracted to the moon can fall on it. This is what happened on Friday, March 4, 2022 on the completely pitted opposite side of the craters of our natural satellite, and NASA’s Lunar Orbiter has identified two new ones linked to the impact. The incident observed in real time was neither voluntary nor planned and everyone denies that it caused it. In fact, it would be a rocket stage, more precisely a booster that instead of descending to Earth after take-off would have gone around and while it was drifting it would have been captured by the gravity of our nocturnal companion. Neither the Chinese nor the Americans of the ultra-polluting SpaceX company want to take ownership and responsibility, yet they are in the line of fire.
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This impact caused two craters, one having a diameter of 18 meters, while the other is slightly smaller, with a diameter of 16 meters. How surprising is that? What clues does this provide as to the nature of the rocket?
The researchers who predicted the collision did not expect to observe two craters, but came to the conclusion that the piece of unidentified aircraft that crashed into the moon had two large masses at either end. It is neither the first nor the last piece of rocket to crash into the Moon. We’ve already identified about fifty impact craters but none are double and for good reason, in general the mass is concentrated at one end, the other is an empty reservoir. Therefore, these two holes are a singularity that should help identify the responsible trade. Some, such as astronomer Bill Gray, a specialist in monitoring celestial objects that cross our orbit, do not hesitate to take the plunge and put forward the hypothesis of the Chinese experimental rocket Chang’e 5 T1 whose booster would have drifted. while she silently returned to Earth for a future lunar mission …
While the Moon is regularly scrutinized, how to explain that no one is able to determine the origin of this rocket and that no nation recognizes that it is the origin of it?
As I said above, there are thousands of pieces of debris and we can’t track them all … Besides, it wouldn’t be of much interest. On the other hand, the cleansing of space becomes urgent, because these lost objects pose security problems on Earth as well as in the sky. Regardless of the owners, cleanliness is a priority.