Portion of a SpaceX rocket launched from Florida to hit moon, reports say

Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 11, 2015

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) (Charlie Riedel, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

A portion of a SpaceX rocket that launched from Cape Canaveral in February 2015 is expected to slam into the moon sometime in the next several weeks, according to reports from several media outlets.

According to CBS News, the space junk is part of a Falcon 9 rocket that launched NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, also called DSCOVR, into space.

That mission took off from the Space Coast on Feb. 11, 2015. It placed the DSCOVR satellite into a neutral orbit between the Earth and the sun, a million miles away, to measure and track solar winds which could impact Earth.

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However, during that deployment, Falcon 9′s second stage, which provides it with a second boost to reach its desired orbit, ran out of fuel to return to Earth, according to CBS News. The second stage has been orbiting Earth ever since, and now, according to data gathered by astronomers, it’s on track to hit the moon, the report continues.

Bill Gray, an independent researcher focused on orbital dynamics who was the first to publicize the imminent collision, told CNN that the rocket stage is likely to hit the moon around 7:26 a.m. on March 4. The report adds that the rocket will hit the dark side of the moon, somewhere north of its equator.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.