Research, Technology

Crater left by a mysterious object found on the moon

Right now, around the moon, an orbital fliesthe Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is equipped with a powerful LROC camera to take pictures of the satellite's surface. The optical device consists of three parts: one low resolution sensor (WAC) and two high resolution cameras (NAC). Recently, during the study of NAC images from May 25, 2022, NASA specialists discovered a very strange crater, which consists of two parts. It is believed that it was formed as a result of the fall of a rocket, the model of which cannot be recognized at the moment. The most surprising thing is that scientists cannot understand why two depressions formed during the fall - when other vehicles crashed, only one crater always remained. In the framework of this article, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with the probable causes of the occurrence of a double crater and find out what kind of rocket it may be.

A double crater formed on the moon, but scientists do not know exactly how it appeared

Missile debris on the moon

Throughout the history of space exploration, on the surfaceMany rockets have crashed on the moon. For example, there are several S-IVB rocket stages that were previously used in the American Saturn IB and Saturn-5 launch vehicles. With each collision with the surface of the moon, they left behind only one crater.

Craters from S-IVB rocket stages

Mysterious crater on the moon

During the study of photographs from the apparatus LunarReconnaissance Orbiter, astronomer Bill Gray (Bill Gray) recently noticed another crater, clearly formed after the fall of the rocket. It consists of two recesses: the first has a width of 18 meters, and the second - 16 meters. According to the astronomer's calculations, the rocket fell on the surface of the moon at an angle of 15 degrees, but in this case it could hardly bounce and cause two craters at once.

Double crater on the moon

According to one of the leaders of the LRO missionMark Robinson, the double crater could be the result of the fall of an elongated object, each end of which has a large mass. However, most rockets have an uneven distribution of mass at the end of their flight - the end with the engine weighs a lot, and the rest of the body is an empty fuel tank, which weighs little. This makes it much more difficult to recognize the crashed object and determine the cause of the double crater. But scientists have a few guesses.

You will be interested: Why should there be more craters on the moon than there are now?

Cause of the double crater

At first, the researchers believed that the victimThe crash object is part of the Falcon 9 rocket that launched the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) into space in 2015 to observe the Sun and the Earth. The same astronomer Bill Gray had previously developed software to track space debris and reported that the rocket was supposed to crash into the moon. However, because he received a letter from Jon Giorgini about a possible error - according to his calculations, the DSCOVR output trajectory into space should not have brought the rocket to the moon. After that, Bill Gray double-checked the data and found out that he was really mistaken and the SpaceX rocket did not fall to the moon.

Research vehicle DSCOVR

Most likely a double crater on the Moonwas formed as a result of the fall of the Chang'e-5T1 third-stage launch vehicle in 2014. But the Chinese Foreign Minister said that their device could not have collided with the moon, because it definitely fell into the ocean after launch. Astronomer Bill Gray is aware of these words, but believes that the minister is simply mistaken and is referring to the Chang'e-5 apparatus, which previously successfully delivered samples of lunar soil to Earth.

A double crater was found in such a large image

There is almost no doubt that the researchers are dealing with Chang'e-5T1. Its fall has been known for a long time, but scientists couldn't find the exact location.

But because of what exactly after the fall of the apparatusa double crater formed, scientists don't know. Perhaps, during or before the collision, it broke in two, which caused the appearance of two depressions. Or it could be that the object bounced off the surface and fell again. Perhaps someday scientists will be able to give a reasonable explanation for this. It is possible that after the construction of the lunar station, people will be able to drive on the surface of the satellite in a special car (like this) and explore the objects that fell on the moon.

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The mere fact that an object that fell on the moonmanaged to find so quickly, very surprising. In the past, this required much more time. For example, it took scientists more than six years to find the wreckage of the above-mentioned S-IVB stages of the Saturn launch vehicle.