The rocket that will hit the moon is not from SpaceX, but from China

The Earth and Moon were photographed during the Chang'e 5-T1 mission

The Earth and Moon were photographed during the Chang’e 5-T1 mission
picture: CNSA

At the end of January, news broke of this An old SpaceX rocket was on its way to hitting the moon. It turns out that the astronomers were wrong. Yes, the rocket will make an uncontrolled impact on the satellite’s surface on March 4, but it’s not the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, but a booster for the Long March 3C rocket that was used on the Chinese Chang mission. ‘e 5-Q1 in 2014.

astronomer Bill Graywhich develops Project Pluto for tracking near-Earth objects, Identify the error on their websiteexplaining that it was NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer John Giorgini, who realized that the object in question could not be the upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket used on NOAA’s DSCOVR mission in 2015.

Giorgini argued that the observatory DSCOVR hasn’t even gotten close to the Moon, so it would be strange if the rocket that launched it did. So Gray reviewed his data and identified the most suitable candidate for the path of the object in question, named WE0913A. It wasn’t difficult, given the few rockets Rise high enough to approach the moon in this way.

WE0913A has been re-identified as the enhancer for the Chang’e 5-T1 mission. In October 2014, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) launched a probe to the moon aboard a Long March 3C rocket as a test of an upcoming mission to collect lunar samples. The launch timing and trajectory almost exactly coincide with the orbit of the object that will hit the moon on March 4. 12:25 UTC.

Before realizing his mistake, Gray attributed the Falcon 9’s erratic course to a fuel leak.. astronomer Jonathan McDowellwho helped him correctly identify the object, wrote on Twitter that this error confirms the lack of proper tracking of deep space objects, by appealing to space agencies.

This would be the first time a rocket had inadvertently crashed into the moon. In the 1950s, the upper stages of the Apollo missions collided with the moon to create small, detectable earthquakes. And in 2009, NASA crashed the LCROSS spacecraft onto the moon’s surface to study particles from the collision. Hopefully, India’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Chandrayaan-2 will be able to take pictures of the impact crater once the Long March 3C rocket has finished its flight.

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