Tempe AZ (SPX) Jun 24, 2022 Astronomers discovered a rocket body heading toward a lunar collision...
Astronomers discovered a rocket body heading toward a lunar collision late last year.
Impact occurred March 4, with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter later spotting the resulting crater.
Surprisingly the crater is actually two craters, an eastern crater superimposed on a western crater.
The double crater was unexpected and may indicate that the rocket body had large masses at each end.
Typically a spent rocket has mass concentrated at the motor end; the rest of the rocket stage mainly consists of an empty fuel tank.
Since the origin of the rocket body remains uncertain, the double nature of the crater may indicate its identity.
No other rocket body impacts on the Moon created double craters.
The four Apollo SIV-B craters were somewhat irregular in outline and were substantially larger than each of the double craters.
The maximum width of the double crater of the mystery rocket body was near that of the S-IVBs.
Rocket Lab USA, Inc. is preparing to launch a satellite to the Moon for NASA as early as June 27th. The launch will take place from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula.