Story at a glance
- The upper stage of a SpaceX rocket will crash into the moon this March.
- The piece was part of a rocket launched into space in 2015 on a mission to send a weather satellite into space.
- After the satellite was launched, the upper stage was left in high orbit.
A SpaceX rocket launched into space seven years ago will crash into the moon.
The 4-ton upper stage of the Falcon 9 is expected to hit the moon on March 4, and potentially create a 65-foot crater, according to The New York Times
The rocket part is expected to hit at 7:25 a.m. EST, but it is still unclear where the upper stage will make an impact, the outlet added.
The rocket was launched into space from Florida in 2015 as part of a mission to deploy a space satellite, according to Newsday.
After finishing a long burn of its engines, the Falcon 9 released the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Deep Space Climate Observatory. After the satellite was released, the upper stage of the rocket did not have enough fuel to be directed back into Earth’s atmosphere or to escape the gravity of the Earth-moon system, the outlet reported, resulting in the rocket piece being left in a “chaotic” orbit.
It remains unclear just how much damage the rocket piece could cause upon impact with some astronomers say the collision is no cause for alarm.
“For those asking: yes, an old Falcon 9 second stage left in high orbit in 2015 is going to hit the moon on March 4,” said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, on Twitter. “It’s interesting, but not a big deal.”
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