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Opinion

China Makes Feeble Denial Regarding Rocket Set to Crash into The Moon

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As the human race continues to reach into the void of the cosmos, curious and unwitting as these excursions may be, we are bringing with us into space the same sort of laissez-faire attitude that created the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

That is to say that we are leaving all manner of space junk out there in orbit, in a bit of a blind drive to conquer the area encompassed by earth’s own orbit.

Perhaps one of the most distinct and disturbing examples of runaway space junk comes to us, unsurprisingly, from China, where regard for the human habitat has long been an afterthought.  Now, as a defunct Chinese rocket is set to crash into the moon in early March, Beijing is spewing a predictable denial.

China is denying responsibility for a wayward rocket expected to crash into the far side of the moon next month. Though the rocket was initially misidentified as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that failed to return to Earth after launching a weather satellite in 2015, experts—including those at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies—are pretty sure the object is a booster used to launch China’s Chang’e-5 T1 spacecraft in 2014. Asked to confirm on Monday, however, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a denial. “According to China’s monitoring, the upper stage of the rocket related to the Chang’e-5 mission entered into Earth’s atmosphere and completely burned up,” spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference, per Space.com.

Experts aren’t buying Beijing’s B.S.

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But astrometry software developer Bill Gray, credited with discovering the moonbound rocket, thinks there’s a misunderstanding. “I think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs simply got two different, but similarly named, lunar missions mixed up,” he wrote on his blog Monday. He noted Wang referred to the “Chang’e-5” mission, which launched in November 2020. A booster did indeed re-enter Earth’s atmosphere about a week later. The Chang’e-5 T1 launch in 2014, to which Gray is referring, had been a precursor to that later mission. The strange thing is that tracking data from the US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron indicates the object that launched in 2014 and is now expected to crash into the moon “instead hit the earth’s atmosphere in October 2015,” Gray writes.

Space junk, including flailing rocket boosters and end-of-life satellites, is a very real threat to the safety of people on earth as well, with scientists working diligently to keep an eye on what could be falling back to earth in the coming years, and where such equipment could land.

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About the Author:
As a lifelong advocate for the dream promised us in the Constitution, Andrew West has spent his years authoring lush prose editorial dirges regarding America's fall from grace and her path back to prosperity. When West isn't railing against the offensive whims of the mainstream media or the ideological cruelty that is so rampant in the US, he spends his time seeking adventurous new food and fermented beverages, with the occasional round of golf peppered in.




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