Rocket debris collided with the moon this Friday, say scientists

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The Moon has one more crater. A section of a rocket that had been wandering through space for many years crashed into its surface this Friday (4), according to experts, but as it was not possible to make a direct observation, it will take patience to verify it through images. .

The impact happened at 12:25 GMT (9:25 am GMT) on the far side of the Moon, according to astronomer Bill Gray, the first to identify that the collision was approaching Earth’s natural satellite.

The cylindrical object was moving at more than 9,000 km/h and it is likely that it caused a crater “between 10 and 20 meters in diameter”, the expert told AFP.

Its trajectory had been calculated through observations made by telescopes on Earth. “We had a lot of data on this object,” Gray said.

The identification of the rocket in question has been the subject of debate because no one is officially involved in recording and monitoring the wreckage of objects in deep space.

Gray, creator of the software used by NASA-funded observation programs, monitors them so they are not mistaken for asteroids and so time is not wasted studying them uselessly.

Initially, the wreckage was thought to be from a SpaceX rocket. However, it was eventually concluded that it was a Chinese spacecraft, specifically a stage of the Long March rocket, which took off in 2014 for a mission called Chang’e 5-T1, as part of the lunar exploration program of the Asian country.

Beijing, on the other hand, denied this information and assured that the section of its rocket had “entered the Earth’s atmosphere without danger” and was “completely incinerated”.

However, according to Gray, China confused two missions with similar names and was actually talking about a rocket launched much later.

In any case, the crater can only be observed through NASA’s LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) or India’s Chandrayaan-2, both in orbit around the Earth’s natural satellite.

The US space agency confirmed in January that it wanted to find the crater, but warned that the operation could take “weeks”.

According to Gray, the two probes can observe the entire lunar region once a month.

It is not uncommon for rocket sections to be abandoned in the cosmos, but this is the first time that an unintentional collision with the Moon has been identified.

In the past, rocket parts were launched at the star for scientific purposes.

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