In a few hours a mysterious rocket will collide with the moon, scientists suspect it is Chinese – Teach me about science

In a few hours a mysterious rocket will collide with the moon, scientists suspect it is Chinese - Teach me about science
An old rocket lands on the moon, but no one agrees to own it. (Image: Capture Enséñame de Ciencia / NBC News).

An old rocket previously thought to be the second phase of Falcon 9, Space Nace, preparing to launch NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) into orbit, is about to land on the moon. Now, astronomers have corrected the information and pointed out that it was actually a Chinese propellant from the rocket launch on the Chang’e 5-T1 mission in 2014 (although China denies this).

It is expected to collide with the Moon at 12:25 UTC on March 4, 2022, at a speed of 9288 km / h, very close to the predicted location and time. It is about 12 meters long and weighs 4,500 kilograms. However, no one seems to want to know whose rocket it is, initially said it was from SpaceX, now the Chinese, But both denied ownership.

Scientist Bill GrayT1, a freelance researcher and developer of software that tracks near-Earth objects, and colleagues at NASA’s JPL say they have misidentified the object and now have strong evidence that it’s the catalyst for the Chang’e 5-Moon mission.

This information has been confirmed by students in Arizona in the Space Domain Awareness Lab at the University’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. “We took a spectrum (which can reveal the material structure of an object) and compared it to similar types of Chinese and SpaceX rockets, which are compatible with Chinese rockets.” Said an associate professor in Urizona Vishnu Reddy, co-director of the Space Domain Knowledge Lab with engineering professor Roberto Furfaroy. “This is the best match, and we have the best evidence possible.”

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If you are wondering about the visibility of the event, Written by Bill Gray Earlier, he said, “Unfortunately, until February 7, observations will be fundamentally impossible until the object is at a minimum. Then we will have a brief viewing window for a day or two, during which time it will be brighter, closer and faster. Observations should allow us to accurately determine the point of impact within a kilometer, perhaps …” This is a good thing, because from February 10 to March 4, it’s going to be short and we’re not going to see anything. “

Although the impact from Earth cannot be observed, there are moons in the Moon’s orbit. Satellites like NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter or India’s Chandrayaan-2, if they come at the same time, are unlikely to rise at the right time. Maybe they can do a trick and drag the object, which will not happen if it is considered insignificant. But this would leave a crater where scientists could look back and learn more about lunar geography.

Should this worry us? No small answer (at least not yet). The Moon is constantly attacked not by rockets but by objects from interstellar space, which are very large, fast, and leave remarkable craters.

Finally, this is not the first time something man-made has landed on the moon. This was done in 2009 by a NASA satellite, although it was intended to find important signatures of water ice. Gray says the old part from Falcon 9 marks the first unexpected lunar impact.

It must be asserted that the impact does not represent any harm to the moon or anyone. Despite this, concerns about the increase in space debris should not be ignored, as this could represent a serious problem in the future.

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“The impending lunar impact is not only a testament to the economically critical orbits around the Earth, but also a clear indication of the need for a comprehensive control system in space applicable to the Moon.” Said Holger Krag, head of ESA’s space safety program.

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