Sunday, May 22

SpaceX: An out-of-control rocket will soon crash into the Moon

A rocket out of control from the company Space X is expected to collide with the Moon in the coming weeks.

The Falcon 9 booster, launched from Florida in 2015, had the mission of deploying the “Climate Observatory from Deep Space”, a space weather satellite, responsible for studying solar winds.

However, after releasing the satellite so that it joined the Lagrange point, a neutral position in gravity and in direct line with the sun, the second stage of the rocket was abandoned.

Since then, and this for seven years, the device wanders in space in a “chaotic” way.

It was high enough that it didn’t have enough fuel to return to Earth, but it “lacked the energy to escape the gravity of the Earth-Moon system,” meteorologist Eric Berger explained in a recent post on Ars Technica .

The aftermath of the impact divides scientists

According to space observers, the rocket should hit the Moon at a speed of about 2.8 km/s in the next few weeks. For Bill Gray, creator of software to track space objects, the upper stage of Falcon 9 should reach the Moon by March 4.

“This is the first unintentional case [de débris spatiaux frappant la Lune] of which I am aware,” added Bill Gray.

The impact zone is not entirely safe. Indeed, due to the sunlight pushing the rocket and a relative “ambiguity” in the measurement of its orbit, scientists cannot predict where the rocket will hit the Moon. “These unpredictable effects are very small. But they will accumulate by March 4,” Gray wrote, adding that further observations were needed to refine the precise time and location of impact.

While scientists like Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, say the impact wouldn’t be “a big deal,” others, like Eric Berger, think the collision could provide valuable data on materials underground. of the Moon, which will be ejected by the hitting of the rocket.

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