The rocket likely to crash into the Moon on March 4 is not, as previously reported, the stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, but it is “likely” a rocket stage from the Long March 3C rocket launching China’s Chang’e 5 T1 . A mission to the moon in 2014.
This writes Ars Technica After further investigation by Pluto project developer Bill Gray, who discovered the unknown object heading towards the moon three weeks ago. He was the first to notice† Gray then argued, based on data from amateur and professional astronomers, that the object on a collision course with the Moon was a rocket stage from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket that launched DSCOVR to the Moon in 2015.
This weekend Gray corrected himself for Ars Technica after receiving a message from NASA engineer John Giorgini. Giorgini wrote to Gray that the Falcon 9 rocket’s stage did not come close to the Moon and so should be another object. Gray now argues that the most likely candidate is a rocket stage from the Long March 3C rocket that launched China’s Chang’e 5-T1 lunar mission in 2014. The Long March 3C rocket launched a small spacecraft into lunar orbit as a test run for a mission to collect soil samples from the moon.
According to Gray, the launch time and orbit around the Moon are proportional to this rocket, so he stated that the object that will hit the Moon is “most likely” as the rocket stage of this rocket. “This is still outward evidence, but I see it as very compelling evidence,” Gray says. “So, I believe the object that will hit the moon on March 4, 2022 at 12:25 p.m. UTC is a Chang’e ‘e 5-TI rocket’ stage.”
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