Sounds like a bad joke – but it isn’t: a SpaceX rocket is on a collision course with the Moon. At the beginning of March there should be a breakdown, according to various international media reports.
The Falcon 9 launch vehicle of the American company SpaceX took off from Florida in February 2015. The goal of the mission was to send a weather satellite on a one million kilometer flight. But the plan of Elon Musk (50), the owner of the company, failed: the rocket technology failed in the middle of space. At this point, Falcon 9 was too far away to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.
“It also didn’t have enough energy left to escape the gravity of the Earth-Moon system,” meteorologist Eric Berger explained in a recent Science article. “Ars Technica”. “As a result, Falcon 9 has followed a somewhat chaotic orbit since February 2015.”
Collision at 9,288 km/h
In a few weeks, the flight of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle should come to an abrupt end. “It will definitely affect the far side of the moon near the equator on March 4th,” data analyst Bill Gray wrote in a blog post. He has developed software for tracking NEOs, asteroids, minor planets and comets. “This is the first accidental case of space debris hitting the Moon,” Gray said.
Falcon 9 weighs about four tons and, according to Gray’s calculations, should hit the moon at 9,288 kilometers per hour. However, further observations are necessary to determine the exact velocity and impact location.
Does the breakdown affect us?
The event must not be visible from the ground. “Most of the moon is in the way, and even if it’s on the near side, the effect will occur a few days after the new moon,” Gray says. The collapse is unlikely to have any impact on the world’s population. Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell described the collision as “exciting” but “not a big deal.”
Elon Musk’s company has yet to comment on the impending collapse.
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