Three-Ton Piece Of Space Junk On A 5,800 MPH Collision Course With The Moon

A three-ton piece of space junk is expected to crash land on the surface of the Moon by the end of the week. The leftover rocket is traveling at a speed of 5,800 mph and is on a collision course for the far side of the Moon, just north of the equator.

Scientists estimate the 40-foot long rocket will create a crater between 33 and 66 feet and send a massive plume of dust around 100 miles in every direction. Because the crash site is on the dark side of the Moon, it will take weeks or months to confirm the impact.

While China has a rover on the far side of the Moon, it will be too far away to detect the crash. In addition, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and India’s Chandrayaan-2 will also be out of range when the rocket slams into the rocky surface of the Moon.

Initially, asteroid tracker Bill Gray believed the rogue rocket was from a 2015 SpaceX launch. He updated his assessment about a month later and said it was likely the upper stage of a Chinese rocket launched in 2014. China has denied the claims that the leftover rocket belongs to them, saying that it burned up in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Space Command got involved and said it found no evidence that the Chinese rocket deorbited but could not provide information about the origin of the rocket heading towards the Moon.

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