‘Chaotic’ SpaceX rocket on collision course with the moon, say astronomers

By MiNDFOOD

‘Chaotic’ SpaceX rocket on collision course with the moon, say astronomers
A rogue SpaceX rocket that's been orbiting in space for almost seven years may soon crash into the moon, say experts. 

The booster launched by SpaceX has been in a “chaotic orbit” since 2015 and is now set on a collision course with the moon.

The rocket was first launched in February 2015 as part of a weather satellite mission, but went rogue on its way to a gravity-neutral position.

Sharing the news in Ars Technica, meteorologist Eric Berger said the rocket did not have enough fuel to make it back to Earth’s atmosphere, and at the same time, “lacked the energy to escape the gravity of the Earth-Moon system”.

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

The rocket, which measures about four metric tonnes, is expected to hit the moon in around 4 March, at a velocity of 2.56km a second.

Data analyst Bill Gray says “this is the first unintentional case [of space junk hitting the moon] of which I am aware.”

Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said that while the collision is “interesting” it is “not a big deal.”

Experts say while the actual moment of impact won’t be observable from Earth, there will be a small window in early February where it “will be bright, close and moving fast”.

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