Launch was part of a project by the company SpaceX that plans to take humans to other planets; equipment has been wandering in space for seven years
A rocket lost in space is about to collide with the Moon. Launched seven years ago by billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, the object did not have enough fuel to return to Earth and was left in orbit. With the shock, the equipment should explode.
Called the Falcon 9, the rocket was part of a space exploration program designed to take humans to other planets. The object was launched to take a space weather satellite to a distance of more than a million kilometers.
Since it was abandoned by Musk’s team, the rocket is being pulled by different gravitational forces, between Earth, Moon and Sun. The different directions make its path chaotic.
The information is from Uol Tilt and, according to astronomer Jonathan MC Dowell, the effects of the uncontrolled collision of a rocket on the lunar soil will be small.
The final collision of the rocket is expected to take place on March 4th. Contact with the Moon tends to drive the object into an explosion that will open a crater on the surface where the impact occurs.
“It’s basically a four-ton empty metal tank, with an engine in the back. So if you imagine throwing this at a rock at 5,000 miles per hour (8,000 km/h) it’s not going to be a happy event,” explains Professor MC Dowell.
When abandoned, Falcon 9 joined millions of pieces of space junk. Many machines and other objects have already been abandoned in space because they do not have enough energy to return to Earth.
“Over decades, there were maybe 50 large objects that we totally lost control of. This may have happened several times before, we just didn’t notice. This would be the first confirmed case,” says MC Dowell.
Currently, these space debris left in space has no significant influence, but that should change in the future. “If we get to the future where there are cities and bases on the Moon, we’re going to want to know what’s out there. It is much easier to organize this when there are few objects in the space.”