Wandering space since 2015, a SpaceX Falcon 9 stage will crash into the moon on March 4

A scientist has discovered that after a 7-year drift in space, a 4-tonne stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will crash into the moon on March 4.

It looks like a version of “Don’t look up”, the Netflix movie in which astrophysicists discover that a meteorite is about to crash into the earth. This time it is neither a meteorite nor the earth.

According to Bill Gray, a space object tracking specialist, the second stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket that was sent into space on February 11, 2015 will crash into the far side of the moon. The moon landing is scheduled for March 4. It will not go smoothly. This element of 4 tons will crash on the lunar ground at a speed of 2.58 km/second.

Bill Gray made this discovery thanks to his Project Pluto, a software developed to track space objects like near-Earth cruisers, asteroids or comets. But he did not think he could trace this Falcon X stage adrift for 7 years now. Usually, this element of a rocket is sent into a heliocentric orbit to keep it well away from Earth and the Moon.

“I have a fairly comprehensive mathematical model of what the earth, moon, sun and planets are doing and how their gravity affects the object. I have a rough idea of ​​how much sunlight is pushing outside on the object, gently moving it away from the sun. This allows me to make these predictions with a good deal of confidence,” says Bill Gray.

The consequences of the impact

To confirm this scenario, the researcher invited amateur and professional astronomers to observe the trajectory of this space debris and to share their information on a blog created to follow this event. Together, they seek to know the exact time of the impact and the precise place where it will occur. In France, Christophe Demeautis, a French amateur astronomer, published a Web page to follow the event.

Bill Gray is certain What damage will he cause? This will depend on the trajectory of the fall. “These effects are still unpredictable,” admits the researcher. The consequences of the crash will be observed by two satellites orbiting the Moon. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and India’s Chandrayaan-2 could collect data on the crater created by the impact and study the moon’s geology in depth, but Bill Gray doubts they’re in the right place at the right time . He also doubts that the United States and India will release funds to hijack their satellites.

For Bill Gray, this unintentional crash is a first, but he fears that such incidents will occur again.

“In theory, such objects could one day strike the moon but also the earth if they are not ejected around the sun thanks to the energy obtained by passing near the moon”, indicates Bill Gray.

While waiting for the crash, Elon Musk has yet to comment on Twitter about this unforeseen phenomenon. But on social networks, hundreds of posts follow the trajectory of his rocket. Some are curious or worried, but others mock the SpaceX boss by comparing this crash to that of the cryptocurrencies he regularly supports on his twitter account.

Others wonder where the Tesla sent into space on February 6, 2018 is and if it was just a crash test. The latest news is that the convertible has left Mars orbit and is believed to be some 360 ​​million kilometers from Earth.

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