The space debris that was scheduled to crash into the moon on March 4 is not the scene of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, but a booster for the Chinese Long Gear 3C rocket used on the Chang’e 5-T1 mission in 2014. The astronomer admitted Bill Gray himself exchanged identities, which at the end of January announced the impact on the moon (an event still confirmed at 13:25 Italian time on March 4).
WE0913A’s yellow about the identity of space debris stems from a misunderstanding dating back nearly seven years. The mysterious object, which was discovered on March 14, 2015 and initially mistaken for an asteroid, was later associated with space debris. Since it passed close to the moon just two days after the launch of the US satellite DScovr, Gray and other experts identified it as the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that was used to put it into orbit, but this assumption was wrong. No one would have noticed, at least a few days ago, when the announcement of the collision on the Moon made a strong media resonance around the world.
The error was noted by engineer John Giorgini, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), who on Saturday contacted Gray by e-mail explaining that DScovr had not passed close to the moon, so not even the rocket could follow a similar trajectory. ..
After understanding the error, Gray went to recheck launch records prior to March 2015, and thus ended up identifying another possible identity of the space debris: the identity of the Long March 3C rocket booster, which mysteriously disappeared after the Chinese launch. Chang’e-5 T1 mission in October 2014.
The story once again highlights the difficulties with which objects are tracked in lunar space due to the lack of appropriate instruments.
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