Representational Image (credits - Pixabay)

An old space junk, which is of Elon Musk promoted company SpaceX's rocket that was launched nearly 7-years ago, will now crash into the moon, predicts astronomers.

Launched in February 2015, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket ran out of fuel and now the 4.4-ton (4 metric tons) rocket has been moving around fast in the space, in a chaotic orbit. It was supposed to be the part of a mission to send a climate observation satellite 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth.

On January 5, 2022, Falcon 9 rocket's debris made a close flyby of the moon.

This all was predicted by Bill Gray, a developer of software that tracks near-Earth objects. In a blog post, he stated, "The rocket's upper stage is now expected to hit the far side of the moon while traveling at a blistering speed of 5,771 mph (9,288 km/h) on March 4, 2022."

"There are still several bits of junk we're tracking that may eventually hit the earth or moon or be ejected into orbit around the sun.", Bill says in his blog post.

Further, the data from observers helped scientists pinpoint its orbit of Falcon 9 rocket, discovering it would hit the Hertzsprung crater on the moon’s far side on March 4 at approximately 12:25 UTC. 

The effects of the collision impact will be minimal, aside from a new, albeit small, crater on the moon.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, also confirmed that Falcon 9 space debris will hit the Moon. In a tweet, he said, "yes, an old Falcon 9 second stage left in high orbit in 2015 is going to hit the moon on March 4. It's interesting, but not a big deal."

Though, SpaceX may not be held responsible for this collision as it's apparently unintentional. In the past there are few space probes which have been deliberately destroyed at their objects of study, like the moon or other planets, typically by hard landings or crash landings at the end of their respective missions and/or functionality.

For an instance, several rocket stages utilized during the Apollo space program were deliberately crashed on the Moon to aid seismic research, and four of the ascent stages of Apollo Lunar Modules were deliberately crashed onto the Moon after they had fulfilled their primary mission.  

The moon saw intentional crashing of space probes objects, into its surface, for more than 15 times. 

It is to be noted that sometimes, the components of space probes intentionally crashed in order to prevent the hazards of orbital space junk/debris and planetary contamination.

But, Falcon 9 is a first "space junk", wandering in the space with no control from the earth, will crash into the moon. In other words, this is the first known unintentional impact of space junk with the moon.

Besides the moon, the Mercury too has saw intentional crashing when MESSENGER, a NASA robotic space probe that orbited the planet Mercury between 2011 and 2015, for studying Mercury's chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field, intentionally crashed into Mercury on April 30, 2015, in order to end the mission.

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