SpaceX unguided rocket flies to collide with the moon

(ORDO NEWS) — The Falcon 9 rocket was originally launched from Florida in 2015 to deploy the Deep Space Climate Observatory and has been in a “chaotic” orbit ever since.

A SpaceX rocket is on a collision course with the Moon after nearly seven years in space, experts say.

The booster was originally launched from Florida in February 2015 as part of an interplanetary mission to send a space weather satellite on a million-mile journey.

But after completing a long engine run and sending the NOAA Deep Space Climate Observatory to the so-called Lagrange point – a gravitational neutral position four times further than the Moon and on the same line with the Sun – the second stage of the rocket became ownerless.

At this stage, it was high enough that it did not have enough fuel to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, but also “did not have enough energy to escape the gravity of the Earth-Moon system,” meteorologist Eric Berger explained.

“Therefore, since February 2015, it has been moving in a somewhat chaotic orbit,” Berger added.

Space experts believe the rocket – about four metric tons of “space junk” – is on its way to intersect the Moon at about 2.58 km/s for several weeks.

Bill Gray, who writes software for tracking near-Earth objects, asteroids, minor planets and comets, said the Falcon 9 upper stage is likely to crash into the far side of the moon, near the equator, on March 4.

The data analyst said in a recent blog post that the object “made a close flyby of the Moon on January 5th” but will make a “definite impact on March 4th.”

“This is the first unintentional case of space debris falling on the Moon that I know of,” Gray added.

The exact location of the rocket’s impact remains unclear due to the unpredictable effect of sunlight “pressing” on the rocket and “ambiguities in the measurement of rotation periods”, which can slightly change its orbit.

“These unpredictable effects are very small. But they will accumulate from now until March 4,” Gray wrote, adding that further observations are needed to clarify the exact time and location of the collision.


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