May 24, 2024

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NASA probe records the impact crater of a rocket that crashed into the moon

NASA probe records the impact crater of a rocket that crashed into the moon

Earlier this year, the first phase of a Rocket, weighing about three tons, collided with the moon. The shock that had been expected for months happened On the morning of the fourth of MarchIt’s 9:25 a.m. (Brazilian time).

The impact site was Hetzsprung crater, 530 km in diameter, located on the far side of the Moon, which is not visible from here. a land. At the time, scientists thought the impacts of the collision would be, at most, a small crater and a bit of dust.

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The double crater could have been caused by a rocket hitting the moon in March of this year. Photo: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

To everyone’s astonishment, images of the vicinity of Hitzprung taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently received by science teams show that, in fact, two craters formed as a result of the impact: an eastern crater (18 meters in diameter) superimposed on a western crater (16 meters in diameter) .

According to a statement by the agency, the double crater could indicate that the missile body had large masses at both ends. Usually, the mass of the rocket used is concentrated at the end of the engine. The remainder of the stage consists mainly of an empty fuel tank.

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Although speculation is that it is a Chinese missile, its origin is still not known with certainty, which, at first, was attributed to SpaceX. “Since the source of the missile remains unclear, the dual nature of the crater may aid in its identification,” said Mark Robinson, LRO’s principal camera investigator.

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Other rockets crashed into the Moon, but no other impact produced double craters. The four nozzles left by the SIV-B stages of the Apollo 13, 14, 15 and 17 had slightly irregular contours and were much larger (more than 35 m) than each of the twin nozzles.

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