SpaceX’s out-of-control rocket is on a collision course with the moon.
The U.S. Sun reported this week about the rocket’s upcoming March 4 crash, and one scientist thinks the impact could contaminate the Moon with Earth microbes.
The rocket will hit the moon at 2.6 kilometers per second. That roughly is about 5,816 miles per hour. Commercial jets can’t go that fast, reaching speeds between 460 and 575 mph when they reach their ideal altitudes.
The SpaceX Falcon 9’s upper stage has floated in space since its February 2015 launch from Florida. The second-stage rocket portion was part of the company’s first deep-space mission.
The out-of-control booster was launched from Florida in February 2015 as part of SpaceX’s first deep-space mission. The website reported the rocket’s final stage would take it on a journey more than 621, 371 miles from Earth.
Scientist: Rocket’s Metal Could Be Big
Open University professor David Rothery told The Conversation he’s not bothered by the rocket impact and likely crater.
The planetary geosciences professor is more concerned about the rocket’s production of microbes that could create confusion over life on the moon in the future.
Besides, there are about 500 million moon craters anyway. Rothery said this four-ton rocket would only make one more that’s about 62 feet wide. The moon’s lack of atmosphere will almost affect the rocket’s impact.
NASA has tracked hundreds of more minor space-rock collisions with the moon over the past decade.
Rothery acknowledged that most nations are already respectful of any moon contact.
“Most nations have signed up to planetary protection protocols that seek to minimize the risk of biological contamination from Earth to another body (and also from another body back to Earth),” the scientist said.
Rothery wants everyone to stay true to the protocols, saying they are “in place for reasons both ethical and scientific.”
He said it wouldn’t be right to put any moon “ecosystem at risk “by introducing organisms from Earth that might thrive there.” It’s all about keeping the moon and other planets in their original condition without contamination.
Moon Rocks Still Big Here On Earth
Would the SpaceX rock create a bunch of space rocks that would come hurdling at the Earth? Probably not. Sorry, moon rock collecters.
Everybody wants them. The rocks can be found on eBay, but they aren’t cheap. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for them.