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Current Affairs

Newest crater on Moon

Date: 17 March 2022 Tags: Space

Issue

Debris of a spacecraft has hit the surface of the moon, creating an impact crater that is around 65 feet wide.

 

Background

Space junks are objects that remain in space from previous space launch missions or parts of disable satellites.

 

Details

  • The space junk that impacted moon was earlier said to be part of SpaceX rocket but later it was assumed to be third-stage booster of Chang’e 5-T1 lunar mission by CNSA.

  • The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has denied it and says that the object in question has already incinerated after entering the earth.

  • The impact occurred on the far-side of the lunar surface. The speed, trajectory and time were calculated based on telescopic observations.

 

Identifying the object

  • The object was identified by Bill Gray, an American astronomer. He had earlier said it to be part of Falcon 9 rocket and later changed the identity.

  • The object was first spotted in 2015. Based on different observations, Gray managed to determine the date and time of the collision on moon.

 

Reasons for changing identity

  • The object in question was larger than the part of Falcon 9 rocket. The study of backward trajectory of the object identified a lunar fly-by.

  • The time of lunar fly-by mission indicated it as Chang’e 5-T1 mission. The object was leftover part of the mission.

 

Studying impact

  • Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of NASA and ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter are two active lunar missions that can observe the crater.

  • Being on the far-side of the moon, studying and picturing the crater after the impact has become difficult.

 

Nature of crater

  • Craters on moon are permanent unlike earth, which gets erased due to process such as erosion, volcanism and tectonics.

  • Tectonics prevents formation of new rocks or covering of existing ones by volcanism. There is also no atmosphere on moon, which prevent erosion of the craters.