Elon Musk launched SpaceX rocket to CRASH into Moon; NASA orbiter to watch

Falcon 9 rocket was launched by Elon Musk led SpaceX and it will crash into the Moon on March 4; a NASA satellite will watch the impact on the Moon.

| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 23:48 IST
Falcon 9 rocket, that was launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, will collide into the Moon (AFP)
Falcon 9 rocket, that was launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, will collide into the Moon (AFP)

Elon Musk first launched the Falcon 9 rocket through his space technology company SpaceX in 2015. Now, seven years later, it is on its way to collide with the Moon on March 4th, according to astronomers. Notably, the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and India's Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will watch the event take place. The Falcon 9 booster has been floating around in space for a while now. It all began after Falcon 9 was first launched. Falcon 9 is a two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle. The first stage rocket successfully took the ship to space, the second stage rocket was left with not enough fuel to either complete the mission or escape the gravitational pull of the Moon.

What will happen to Elon Musk commissioned Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket?

Earlier in January, Bill Gray, creator of the famous Project Pluto software that tracks NEO (near Earth objects), asteroids, comets and more, shared a message to the astronomy community to focus on Elon Musk commissioned Falcon 9 rocket. Gray believes that the upper stage of the SpaceX rocket will hit the far side of the Moon, close to its equator.

Gray further said that it is difficult to pin-point the collision zone as sunlight may slightly alter the orbit of the rocket. “These unpredictable effects are very small… but they will accumulate between now and March 4,” he added.

Why is this event important?

While there have been multiple deliberate crashes into the Moon for observation purposes to gain more knowledge about the surface, unintentional crashes are extremely rare. Elon Musk's Falcon 9 will be crashing onto the far side of the Moon, increasing the interest of the astronomy community. Both the impact and the subsequent crater formed will be observed by scientists to gain more information about the Moon. The failed mission of SpaceX may give the community something interesting to look forward to.

Gray said that if his predictions were correct, it would allow satellites revolving around the Moon to observe the event and collect information. Two satellites that have the best chance to view the event according to the astronomer include NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and India's Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft. The rocket, which weighs about 4,000 kilograms, is currently approaching the Moon at 9,000 kilometres per hour.

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First Published Date: 26 Jan, 12:47 IST