Mystery of unknown rocket impact on Moon
June 29, 2022 - After months of searching, scientists have found the crash site of a suspected rocket stage that struck the far side of the moon in March.
In January 2022, skywatchers discovered an object orbiting the Earth that was on a collision course with the moon.
Initially, they believed it to be the upper stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, but this was later proven wrong.
After further research, they then concluded it was likely the upper stage of a Chinese Long March 3C rocket launched back in 2014.
However, China denies this, saying its rocket stages burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.
Regardless of whose rocket it was, it did eventually crash into the moon on March 4, but the event was not witnessed and so the crash site remained unknown.
Observers spent months studying images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and eventually found the crash site on June 24, near the Hertzsprung crater.
However, the mystery of what hit the moon has, if anything, only intensified further because of the unusual double impact crater it has left behind.
Rocket stage moon impacts leave single craters as has been the case with several Apollo Saturn V third stages that impacted into the lunar surface in the 1970s.
What could have hit the moon and left two overlapping craters remains a puzzle.
- OK, whose rocket just hit the moon? (TechCrunch)
- They found two new craters on the moon and discovered a new mystery (New York Times)
- China, not SpaceX, may be source of rocket part crashing into moon (New York Times)
- Mystery rocket body found! (NASA)
- NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spots rocket impact site on moon (NASA)