Astronomers have found a crater from a mysterious rocket that hit the moon

Astronomers have found a crater from a mysterious rocket that hit the moon
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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) – NASA’s eye in the surrounding orbit ay – On March 4, 2022, a mysterious rocket amplifier crashed into the far side of the Moon.

LRO images taken on May 25 revealed not only a crater, but also a double crater formed by a rocket, and opened a new mystery for astronomers.

Why a double crater? Although a bit unusual – none Apollo S-IVB Created double craters that hit the moon – it is impossible to create them, especially if the object is at a low angle. But this does not seem to be the case here.

Astronomer Bill Gray, who first discovered the object and predicted that it would be destroyed on the moon in January, explains that the amplifier “entered about 15 degrees from the vertical. That’s not the explanation.”

The impact area consists of an 18-meter-wide eastern crater placed on top of a 16-meter-wide western crater. Mark Robinson, chief investigator of the LRO Camera team, suggests that the formation of this double crater could be caused by an object with different masses at both ends.

Before (28.02.2022) and after the appearance of the moon (21.05.2022). (NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University)

“Typically, the mass of a rocket used is concentrated at the tip of the engine; the rest of the rocket stage consists mainly of an empty fuel tank. Since the origin of the rocket’s body remains unclear, the dual nature of the crater can help reveal its identity.” he said.

What is this?

This is a long story. The unidentified rocket first caught the attention of astronomers earlier this year when it was identified as the upper stage of SpaceX, which sent NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) to the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrange Point in 2015.

Gray, the developer of space debris tracking software, was warned about the object when an error occurred in the program. He said The Washington Post On January 26, “my software complained because it couldn’t design an orbit beyond March 4, and it couldn’t because the rocket hit the moon.”

Gray spread the word, and the story spread in late January – but a few weeks later, he received an email from John Giorgini at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).

Giorgini noted that the trajectory of the DSCOVR should not have moved anywhere near the Moon. To reconcile conflicting trajectories, Gray began researching his own data, where he discovered in 2015 that he had misidentified the DSCOVR amplifier.

SpaceX was finally not to blame. But, of course, there was still an object orbiting the moon. What was he?

A bit of detective work led Gray to determine that this was actually the top stage of China’s Chang’e 5-T1 mission, the 2014 technology demonstration mission that laid the foundation for Chang’e 5, which successfully returned the Moon sample to Earth in 2020. (By the way, China recently announced that it will continue its mission to return this sample more ambitiously Return of the Mars sample project at the end of this decade).

Jonathan McDowell presented some supporting evidence that reinforces this new theory for the identity of the object.

The mystery has been solved.

A few days later, the Chinese Foreign Minister claimed that this was not their amplifier: he went out of orbit and fell into the ocean shortly after its release.

As of now, Gray remains convinced that the Change 5-T1 amplifier that hit the Moon was the Foreign Secretary’s right mistake, suggesting that he mixed the Chang’e 5-T1 with the Chang’e 5 of the same name. really sinks into the ocean).

As for the new double crater on the moon, the LRO team’s ability to find its place of influence so quickly is an impressive achievement in itself. A few months after the impact, it was discovered with the small help of Gray and JPL, each of whom independently narrowed the search area to several tens of miles.

For comparison, the Apollo 16 S-IVB has been carefully searched for more than six years to find its area of ​​influence.

Bill Gray’s explanation is an empowering personality saga hereas well as its setting double crater effect. Find LRO pictures here.

This article was originally published by The Universe today. read on original article.

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