Suspected piece of Chinese rocket to slam into moon this week

Rocket chunk expected to hit moon Friday at 7:25 a.m. EST

Moon stock image (Pixabay)

A piece of a rocket is expected to collide with the moon in a few days.

The rocket chunk is expected to hit the moon at about 5,700 mph on Friday, March 4, according to Forbes.

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Bill Gray, an independent researcher focused on orbital dynamics who was the first to publicize the imminent collision, predicts the object will crash into the moon at close to 12:25 UTC, or 7:25 a.m. EST. He runs the Project Pluto website that tracks near-Earth objects.

Gray, with others, preliminarily identified the object as a stray piece of the Falcon 9 rocket that launched the DSCOVR spacecraft. Gray originally suspected that the SpaceX rocket hardware could’ve ended up in the lunar neighborhood due to erratic leaking of leftover fuel.

But, he admits in an updated post that, “Assuming no maneuvers, it would have been in a somewhat odd orbit around the earth before the lunar flyby,” and likely would not have ended up near the moon when the object was originally observed.

Astronomers concluded the most likely candidate may be a piece of a Chinese Long March 3C rocket. The rocket launched China’s moonbound Chang’e 5-T1 mission in October 2014.

“Although Chang’e 5-T1 returned to Earth successfully, the booster is thought to have been zipping around chaotically in space ever since,” a post by Nature.com said.


About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.