Edinburgh, 7 March 2022. – A rogue 3-ton rocket stage crashed into the far side of the Moon after spending seven years in space. The collision was out of view for ground-based telescopes and NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was not in position to record the event either.
Scientific American suggests that the impact crater will be near the naturally formed 570 km wide Hertzsprung Crater. NASA says that it will find the resulting crater, but it could take weeks or months.
It is still unclear where the rocket body came from. According to initial analyses, it was a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite in 2015. Later, it was suggested that it was a part of the Long March 3C rocket that deployed China’s Chang’e 5-T1 mission in 2014.
China denied that the rocket stage was theirs. The United States Space Force’s data also suggested that the object had reentered Earth in 2015. Space Force officials recently confirmed, however, that the supposed reentry was an extrapolation rather than true tracking data.