After decades of celestial exploration, multitudes of retired space equipment litter the regions just outside of Earth’s atmosphere. However, while these objects tend to stay relatively close to our planet, one lone rocket escaped Earth’s gravitational pull and is now destined to crash into the moon. As for the date of the rocket’s crash landing, we can provide you with concrete information. However, unfortunately, we won’t be able to witness the pending collision.
Forgotten Space Junk On a Collision Course with the Moon
According to Cincinnati’s The Enquirer, astronomers first spotted the UFO in 2015. Researchers initially proposed they saw a near-Earth asteroid, a chunk of rock or metal straying close to our planet.
However, interestingly, closer inspection revealed the UFO was actually a piece of a decommissioned rocket. That said, where did it come from? And how in the world (or I guess out of this world) did it get there?
Well, early research posited that the rocket debris came from an expended SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The specific launch took place in 2015 and delivered a satellite to space. Later, though, NASA engineer Jon Giorgoni confirmed this was not the case.
Instead, astronomers now believe the discarded rocket debris came from a Chinese Long March 3C rocket, which had launched the Chang’e-5 T1 spacecraft in 2014.
The rocket debris’s long journey through space is interesting. If it did in fact come from the 2014 launch, it means it’s been circling the solar system for seven years, gradually getting closer to our moon.
Now, astronomer Bill Gray, responsible for rediscovering the craft, predicts it will crash into the moon’s surface, reaching an impressive 5,700 miles per hour, on March 4th, 2022.
Sadly, we won’t be able to view the rocket’s awesomely tragic demise. Gray reports the crash will take place on the far side of the moon. However, thanks to advanced technology, NASA hopes to capture the impact using robotic spacecraft in orbit around the moon.
China Claims Meandering Rocket Debris Is Not Theirs
Amid the ongoing investigation, several credible sources have found evidence that points to China. One includes University of Arizona supervisor and associate professor, Vishnu Reddy.
Nevertheless, despite the research, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists the rocket got destroyed during the mission. In fact, the ministry’s spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said the rocket had been monitored at the time and “completely burned up” upon entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Nevertheless, the removal of space debris is essential to the safety of space travel overall. Too much clutter above Earth means that crews currently deployed and those preparing for launch face the risk of major collision. And considering the speed at which the current piece of rocket debris is headed toward the moon, we definitely don’t want to see any collision of that nature.