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Out-Of-Control Space Junk Crashes Into Moon At 5,800mph

Out-Of-Control Space Junk Crashes Into Moon At 5,800mph

The space junk has come crashing down into the moon at speeds of 9,334 kilometres per hour

It is believed that three tonnes of space junk have just smashed into the moon at frightening speeds of 9,334 kilometres per hour today (4 March), according to calculations.

If you're thinking, 'ah great, first Covid, then WWIII and now a giant moon is going to fall on our heads' – I can assure you latter will definitely not happen.

Despite how realistic Netflix's Don't Look Up was to some, we can safely say we don't always believe what we see in movies.

It's expected that the crash will send moon dust and flying rock into space, so you don't have to worry too much.

Unfortunately, telescopes will not be able to see the new crater, so it could take months to confirm the size of the impact left on the face of the moon using satellite images.

It was initially reported that the gigantic piece of waste was a leftover rocket from Elon Musk's SpaceX program, however, experts suspect there might be another reason behind it.

Astronomer Bill Gray initially thought the space junk was the upper stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

But he now reckons the object is a Chang'e 5-T1 booster, which would belong to the third stage of a Chinese rocket that sent a test sample capsule to the moon back in 2014.

Gray told The Associated Press that he now doesn't see how the item that's on track to hit the moon could be anything but the Chinese rocket.

"I've become a little bit more cautious of such matters, but I really just don't see any way it could be anything else," he said.

In February, Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry Wang Wenbin refuted the suggestion the item could have belonged to China.

"According to China’s monitoring, the upper stage of the Chang’e-5 mission rocket has fallen through the Earth’s atmosphere in a safe manner and burnt up completely," he said.

Gray revealed that space junk rarely makes impact with the moon, describing today's celestial crash as the 'first unintentional case' he is aware of.

The astronomer also tracked the orbit of the moon and the rogue space junk in order to ascertain when the discarded rocket would make impact.

"I keep track of a dozen or so objects in 'high', near-moon orbits, mostly so that the folks looking for asteroids will know where they are (and can ignore them; they're looking for rocks, not junk)," Gray said.

He also stated he had hoped the junk would make impact on the light side of the moon, meaning any leftover crater would be visible, instead of having to wait months for satellite imagery to reveal the aftermath.

All data and simulations have shown Gray his preferred collision is not possible.

At the time of writing, it's unconfirmed what type of space junk has hit the moon.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Space