Space junk slated to likely hit the Moon from a Chinese rocket, not SpaceX: NPR

The unwanted piece of space is expected to hit the moon in early March.

Dmitriy Lovitsky/AFP

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Dmitriy Lovitsky/AFP

The unwanted piece of space is expected to hit the moon in early March.

Dmitriy Lovitsky/AFP

the Piece of old space junk Many astronomers believe that the moon collision is expected in early March which was originally thought to be from SpaceX is actually an ancient Chinese rocket.

Independent astronomer Bill Gray, who first discovered that this junk piece would hit the moon, posted a patch on his website. Project Pluto in a. Saturday. He first began tracking this piece of trash in March 2015, about a month after the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. At that time, he said, it and others described it as the second stage of the rocket.

“The object was about the brightness we’d expect, appeared at the expected time and was moving in a reasonable orbit. Basically, I had very good circumstantial evidence for identification, but nothing conclusive,” Gray said in a blog post.

He added that working on circumstantial evidence in identifying space junk was not unusual.

“Identifying high-flying space junk often requires a little detective work, and sometimes, we never find the identifier for a little space junk,” Gray said.

But on Saturday Gray said he had received an email from John Giorgini at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which tracks active spacecraft. Giorgini noted that the piece that Gray identified was unlikely to be from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, due to the gap between the trajectory of the rocket, which was not close to the moon, and the piece of the rocket that is supposed to be near the moon. .

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Gray says he now believes the rocket piece is from the Chang’e 5-T1 mission, which was launched by the China National Space Administration in October 2014.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian University, also used the data he had and came to the same conclusion. McDowell says a radio from LuxSpace has been attached to the Chinese missile, which tracks their package data. He saved the data from LuxSpace, which helped verify Gray’s assessment that the junk space is from Chang’e 5-T1.

Gray and McDowell add a caveat.

“In a sense, this remains circumstantial evidence,” Gray says of his new finding. “But I would take it as fairly convincing evidence, the kind in which a jury will walk out of the courtroom and return in a few minutes with a conviction.”

McDowell says the new data means we can be 90% sure it’s part from a Chinese missile, but not 100%.

It is still estimated when the space junk will hit the moon on March 4.

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