NASA has discovered a double crater created when a rocket of unknown origin hit the Moon
A rocket of unknown origin has crashed into the Moon, leaving an unusual crater, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter recently revealed. Astronomers noticed the rocket body heading for the Moon late last year, and it finally hit Earth’s satellite on March 4, creating an unusual double-crater formation.
The double crater suggests the body of the rocket”had large masses at either end,” according to a NASA press release issued Friday. It consists of an eastern crater about 18 meters in diameter (19.5 meters) on top of a western crater about 16 meters in diameter (17.5 meters).
The crater is so unusual precisely because no previous rocket body impact on the Moon has created a double crater. Four Apollo SIV-B craters were larger than the recent impact in maximum width, ranging from 35 to 40 meters (approximately 38 meters), although the new crater’s maximum width – 29 meters (approximately 31.7 meters) was similar to that of the Apollo Rockets.
NASA did not mention which rocket its orbiter had spotted in the press release, although US astronomer Bill Gray suggested in February that it was a booster stage for China’s Chang moon mission. ‘e 5-T1, launched in October 2014. Gray initially misidentified the rocket. like a stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9.
The Chang’e-5 probe, which landed on the Moon in December 2020, collected a number of rocks for testing on Earth, revealing that water molecules were present at rates of up to 180 parts per million in parts of the satellite.
China and Russia team up against NASA in race to put a base on the Moon
Several nations have landed or planned missions to the Moon in recent months. Russia has scheduled its Luna-25 lunar lander mission for September, according to an announcement last month by Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, while the United States aims to launch its manned Artemis lunar mission by 2024 .
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has warned that Russia’s growing collaboration with China in space poses a risk to its own supposed dominance in the field. The United States is competing with both nations to build the first moon base, with dreams of exploiting the potential mineral resources of Earth’s only satellite and potentially even building nuclear reactors there.
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