A stage of a rocket launched seven years ago crashed into the moon this friday March 4. Thus, it is likely that it was the first time that a piece of spaceship hits the Moon in a way unintentional.
The impact took place at 1:25 p.m. on the dark side of the moonnear the equator, and out of range of ground-based telescopes and probably also out of the immediate view of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission.
Also, LRO will look for the crater after the event, a mission spokesperson told Space.com last month; Scientific American suggests that the impact will occur somewhere near the 570-kilometer-diameter Hertzsprung crater.
An expected impact
The collision was predicted in late January by Bill Gray, who writes the widely used Project Pluto software. to track near-Earth objects, asteroids, minor planets and comets. He also identified the culprit as the second stage of a Space X Falcon 9 rocket launched in 2015.
Said rocket sent a NOAA satellite into an orbit 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, almost five times further than the Moon. Lacking fuel to return to Earth and to escape the gravity of the Earth-Moon system, the rocket stage followed a chaotic orbit for years that has led to this outcome.
In the middle of February, Gray himself changed his ID and stated that the object on its way to the Moon belongs to the Chinese experimental lunar mission Chang’e 5-T1 launched in October 2014, being its reinforcement. The mission used a Long March 3C/G2 rocket. Subsequently, the Chinese government denied this point.