Come March, skywatchers could have quite the unique event to witness, but the origin of the occurrence is still up in the air.
On March 4th, just a few paltry weeks away, a 4-ton piece of space junk is set to smash into the moon, leaving a large crater. At first, those who had been tracking the object believed that it could be from one of SpaceX’s earlier launches, but now experts are suggesting that the massive terrestrial object actually belongs to China.
The massive rocket speeding through space on a collision course with the moon does not belong to SpaceX despite earlier reports and likely belongs to a spacecraft launched by China in 2014, according to a report on Saturday.Advertisement - story continues below
Ars Technica first reported on the mystery object discovered by Bill Gray, the developer of the astronomical software called Project Pluto. The report said Gray updated his website Saturday to show the correction after being flagged by a NASA engineer who questioned his earlier claim.
Gray said he checked his data and said there is “good evidence” that the object is a Chinese Chang’e 5-T1 rocket stage that was launched in October 2014. The earlier theory was that the object was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage, which launched on Feb. 11, 2015.
The software developer has a fairly keen sense of when the event will occur.
Gray wrote on his website that the object will “still hit the moon within a few kilometers of the predicted spot on 2022 March 4 at 12:25 UTC, within a few seconds of the predicted time.”
The impact of the enormous bit of debris will leave a crater that is at least 65 feet in diameter.