Part of a SpaceX Rocket Is Going to Collide With the Moon
The collision is projected to occur in early March.
A SpaceX rocket is predicted to land on the moon — or at least a part of it.
Since 2015, a booster from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been floating around space, and now it's projected to unintentionally collide with the moon in early March. Harvard-Smithsonian Center astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell tweeted that while the event is interesting, it's nothing to worry about.
For those asking: yes, an old Falcon 9 second stage left in high orbit in 2015 is going to hit the moon on March 4. It's interesting, but not a big deal.— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) January 25, 2022
Whereas objects colliding with Earth tend to burn, the moon doesn't have a thick enough atmosphere to catalyze such an effect. The SpaceX part will most likely create another crater, which McDowell likened to "just another hole in the green cheese."
Related: SpaceX Breaks Its Own Falcon 9 Flight Record During Starlink Launch
This isn't the first time an object from Earth has collided with the moon. Projectpluto.com owner Bill Gray noted that in 2009, NASA sent rocket booster LCROSS on a deliberate mission to collide with the moon in order to inspect the celestial body's lunar polar region. Gray calls the Falcon booster an essentially "free" LCROSS, though the space part isn't going to land in an area of particular interest.
"In each case, I am rooting for a lunar impact," Gray wrote in a post dedicated to the object. "I have particularly hoped for a booster to hit on the near side, in an unlit area, near First or Last Quarter; that would presumably be visible from Earth. But we'd have to get very lucky for that...and when you think that this is the first unintended lunar impact we've had, period, the level of luck required increases."
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