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27 Jan 2022

Out-of-control SpaceX Rocket on Collision Course with Moon

The Index Today

Experts say that a SpaceX rocket is on a collision course with the moon after spending almost seven years hurtling through space. Falcon 9 booster, launched from Florida in 2015 to deploy Deep Space Climate Observatory, has followed ‘chaotic’ orbit.

But after completing a long burn of its engines and sending the NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory on its way to the Lagrange point the rocket’s second stage became derelict.

Meteorologist Eric Berger explained in a recent post on Ars Technica, that at this stage it was high enough that it did not have enough fuel to return to Earth’s atmosphere but also “lacked the energy to escape the gravity of the Earth-Moon system.”

“So it has been following a somewhat chaotic orbit since February 2015,” Berger added.

Space observers believe the rocket – about four metric tonnes of “space junk” – is on course to intersect with the moon at a velocity of about 2.58km/s in a matter of weeks.

Bill Gray, who writes software to track near-Earth objects, asteroids, minor planets, and comets, has said the Falcon 9’s upper stage will very likely hit the far side of the moon, near the equator, on 4 March.

©Photo: JOHN RAOUX, AP

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