After all, a rocket headed for impact with the moon may not be from SpaceX


Sky Observer Bill Gray caused a stir last month when he said available data suggest that the second stage of the SpaceX launch vehicle, launched in 2015, was in collision with the moon.

Global coverage of his findings in the media has prompted others to examine the relevant data in more detail, leading to the discovery that an amplifier that gets out of control may not belong to SpaceX.

In a message posted on his website on Saturday, February 12, Gray explained as he was pretty sure the launch vehicle was launched into space seven years ago. But he said that since his prediction of the moon’s fall went viral, a NASA engineer contacted him to suggest that although the launch vehicle is still expected to hit the moon’s surface on March 4, the rocket’s equipment most likely belongs to China. and not SpaceX.

New findings suggest that the launch vehicle is likely part of the Long March 3C launch vehicle launched by China’s Chang’e 5-T1 mission to the moon in October 2014, rather than the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle. , on which the Deep Space Observatory (DSCOVR) was installed in orbit for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2015.

Chinese rocket launch Long March 3C. STR / Getty Images

In his post, Gray said his mistake can be traced back to 2015, when he misidentified the current object of interest as a SpaceX booster.

“Essentially, I had pretty good circumstantial evidence for identification, but nothing definitive,” Gray said. “It was quite unusual. Identifying high-level space debris often requires detective work, and sometimes we never find out the ID for space debris. ”

Despite the mistake, Gray says the launch vehicle is still on a course of collision with the moon, and says it crashes into the moon’s surface a few miles from the originally predicted location on March 4 at about 7:25 a.m. ET.

Earlier, Gray said that after the strike, he hopes that NASA’s lunar reconnaissance spacecraft and India’s Chandrayaan-2 lunar spacecraft will be able to photograph the crash site for further study.

The impact will be the first time an artificial object inadvertently falls on the moon’s surface. The planned impact occurred 13 years ago when a NASA Centaur rocket and a companion probe were sent at speed to the moon on a mission to find water on Earth’s only natural satellite.

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After all, a rocket headed for impact with the moon may not be from SpaceX

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