NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots Mystery Rocket Impact Site on Moon


Rocket Booster Crash Moon

Artist’s animation of a rocket booster crashing into the moon.

Astronomers discovered a rocket body heading toward a lunar collision late last year. Impact occurred on March 4, 2022, with Rocket Impact Site on Moon

This animated GIF confirms the location of the newly formed rocket body double crater. The before image is LRO’s view from Feb. 28, 2022 (M1400727806L). The after image is from May 21, 2022 (M1407760984R). The width of the frame is 367 meters, about 401 yards. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

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.

Rocket Body Impacted Moon

A rocket body impacted the Moon on March 4, 2022, near Hertzsprung crater, creating a double crater roughly 28 meters wide in the longest dimension. LROC NAC M1407760984R; image enlarged 3x. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

No other rocket body impacts on the Moon created double craters. The four Apollo SIV-B craters were somewhat irregular in outline (Apollos 13, 14, 15, 17) and were substantially larger (greater than 35 meters, about 38 yards) than each of the double craters. The maximum width (29 meters, about 31.7 yards) of the double crater of the mystery rocket body was near that of the S-IVBs.

Moon Craters Formed by Apollo Impacts

These four images show craters formed by impacts of the Apollo SIV-B stages: crater diameters range from 35 to 40 meters (38.2 to 43.7 yards) in the longest dimension. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is a robotic spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon in an eccentric polar mapping orbit. LRO data is essential for planning NASA’s upcoming human and robotic missions to the Moon.

Impact of Ejecta From Orientale Basin Event

The crater formed (5.226 degrees north, 234.486 degrees east, 1,863 meters elevation) in a complex area where the impact of ejecta from the Orientale basin event overlies the degraded northeast rim of Hertzsprung basin (536 kilometers (333 miles) diameter). The new crater is not visible in this view, but its location is indicated by the white arrow. LROC WAC mosaic, 110 kilometers (68 miles) width. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

LRO is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland,…



Read More: NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots Mystery Rocket Impact Site on Moon

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More