August 15, 2022

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A double crater has formed on the moon's surface.  But what made it?

A double crater has formed on the moon’s surface. But what made it?

Thanks to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter orbiting the Moon, it was possible to locate the recently formed double crater there. However, it is not clear what exactly led to its creation.

The new hole visible on the surface of the Silver Globe is located near another Hertzsprung crater, less obscure but much larger. The diameter of its new neighbor, or in fact its neighbors, is 16 and 18 meters, respectively. Quite a lot, but it is incomparable with the dimensions of the above-mentioned Hertzsprung, whose diameter is more than five hundred kilometers.

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Among the original “suspects” who were supposed to be behind the raid was a piece of a SpaceX missile. Over time, accusations fell on the Chinese and part of their Long March 3C missile. It was launched as part of China’s Chang’e 5 mission in 2014, and while Chinese officials have denied the booster is theirs, reality indicates otherwise. Unearthed evidence points to the Chinese origin of the fragment.

Double crater found by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, orbiting our natural satellite, captured the area where the collision occurred. The image above has been enlarged three times and shows a new double crater. Interestingly, such an arrangement of the slots is surprising and was not observed in the case of previous collisions with missiles.

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Where does this form come from? NASA officials suggest that the rocket body should have a significant mass on both sides. This type of debris is usually heavier on the engine side, while the rest of the rocket stage consists primarily of an empty fuel tank. Thus, the double crater gives an indication of the origin of the missile. And while the impacts on the moon’s surface aren’t a big deal, they’re a sign of something else: the increasing amount of space debris scattered around our planet. There are more and more of them, and scientists are alarming, noting that the situation is getting more and more complicated.