A rocket launched by Elon Musk’s space exploration company is on its way to crashing into the moon and exploding.
defend Falcon 9 It was launched in 2015, but after completing its mission, it did not have enough fuel to return to Earth, so it remained in space.
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell told the BBC that it would be The first uncontrolled collision of a rocket with the moon.
He emphasized that the consequences would be minor.
was the missile It was abandoned in high orbit seven years ago After completing the mission of sending a space weather satellite on a 1.6 million kilometer journey.
It was part of Musk’s space exploration program, SpaceXa commercial company whose ultimate goal is for humans to live on other planets.
Since 2015, the rocket has attracted different gravitational forces from the Earth, Moon and Sun, making its trajectory somewhat “chaotic,” explained Professor McDowell, of the US Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
“He died, just by following the laws of gravity,” he added.
At this time it joined millions of other pieces of space debris. Machines that are thrown into space after completing missions without enough energy to return to Earth.
“Over the decades, there have probably been 50 large objects that we completely lost track of,” McDowell said. “Maybe this has happened so many times before, we didn’t realize it. This would be the first confirmed case.”
The expected demise of Falcon 9 was determined by journalist Eric Berger on the Space website Ars Technica and data analyst Bill Gray on his blog.
The collision is scheduled for March 4when the missile explodes on contact.
“It’s basically an empty metal tank weighing four tons, with a rocket motor in the back. So if you imagine throwing it at a rock at 5,000 mph (8000 km/h), it wouldn’t be fun,” he said.
collision DrYou will leave a small artificial crater on the surface of the moon.
Gray, who uses software to track near-Earth objects, says he made a close flyby on January 5. He added that it is likely to hit the far side of the moon on March 4.
The history of the collision with the moon
In 2009, McDowell and other astronomers conducted an experiment in which a rocket of the same size collided with the Moon.
Sensors collected evidence of the impact so they could study the crater.
This means that scientists are unlikely to learn anything new from this incident, McDowell explained.
The world added that though No consequences now for space debris that are left adrift and sometimes shattered, Could be there in the future.
“If we go to a future where there are cities and bases on the Moon, we want to know what’s out there. It’s much easier to organize when there’s slow traffic in space, rather than waiting for it to become a problem.”
What happens between now and March 4th? Under the laws of gravity, the rocket will continue to traverse space before it ends its days by hitting the moon.
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