They identify a double impact crater of a supposed Chinese rocket on the Moon

A rocket, which no company or country wants to take responsibility for, crashed on the surface of the Moon and left a double crater.


After months of its impact, the crater left by the impact of a rocket against the surface of the Moon has been found .

This rocket has been tracked since it was seen earlier this year. And now, three months after its impact, we can learn more about it.

The case

Earlier this year, astronomers determined that a mysterious rocket body was on its way to crash into the lunar surface on March 4. Their calculations suggested that the impact would occur inside the Hertzsprung crater, on the far side of the Moon.

Researchers on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission announced that the spacecraft had detected a new crater, almost certainly the place where the rocket landed.

The LRO images show that the impact created two craters, one to the east about 18 meters wide overlapping the other to the west about 16 meters wide.

“The double crater was unexpected and may indicate that the rocket body had large masses at each end,” wrote Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, principal investigator for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC).

“Usually a spent rocket has mass concentrated at the end of the motor; the rest of the rocket stage consists mainly of an empty fuel tank,” he added. “Since the origin of the rocket body remains uncertain, the dual nature of the crater may help indicate its identity.”

Whose is it?

Early speculation held that it was likely the upper stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission for NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in February 2015.

But additional observations and calculations changed that thinking, leading many scientists to conclude that the rocket body was likely part of the Long March 3 booster that launched China’s Chang’e 5T1 mission around the moon in October 2014 . China has denied that claim.