CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — More Space X Falcon 9 rockets are launching from the Space Coast than ever before. There have already been three launches in the month of January alone, and two more are scheduled over the next four days.
But back in 2015, Falcon 9 launches from the Kennedy Space Center were far more infrequent than today.
There’s one that sent a space weather satellite on a million-mile journey. But part of the Falcon 9 rocket, the second stage, has been on a chaotic orbit for seven years.
There was not enough fuel to bring it back to Earth. It’s now on a collision course with the moon.
“Fortunately, it’s not a big threat because there’s nothing on the far side of the moon to strike. So it’ll impact going pretty quickly. It’s going to be 5,000 or 6,000 miles per hour,” Eric Berger, senior space editor at Ars Technica, said.
“It’ll strike the moon and create a small new crater,” Berger said.
It’ll be a new crater formed by the five-ton rocket piece.
“This is the first time we know of that a manmade, human-made structure has hit the moon. Unintendedly,” Berger said.
There have been a lot of intentional manmade objects striking or landing on the moon. But no unintentional space junk strikes. Harvard University astrophysicist Johnathan McDowell thinks someone needs to be watching.
“The real story for me here is that it’s actually no one’s job to keep track of deep space junk,” McDowell said.
And it’s more crucial with the increase of rockets and craft heading to deep space.
“There are many more players now. So now is the time for us to revisit what the governance of deep space is. Let’s regulate it, let’s just not throw stuff out there randomly,” McDowell added.
On the bright side, there might be some science to be studied from the dust that’s kicked up when the impact occurs now estimated to be on March 4.