A SpaceX rocket that has spent seven years in deep space will crash land on the Moon in March.
The uncrewed Falcon 9 was launched by Elon Musk’s company in February 2015 but it has since run out of fuel to safely make it back to Earth.
It had been planned for the Deep Space Climate Observatory to land on a floating platform on Earth but a fuel shortage means the fridge-sized rocket will instead hit the Moon on March 4.
Rather than an almighty high-speed smash however, the Falcon 9 should collide with the moon at less than 2mph or more specifically 2.58 km/s.
Bill Gray who created the Guide astrometry software, said the crash will only happen after its February perigee – the point in the orbit of the Moon or a satellite at which it is nearest to the Earth.
He said Falcon 9 will travel “to a point almost twice as far away as the Moon” before turning around and heading straight for the far side of the rock, Sputnik reports.
Gray’s Guide astrometry software is used by both professional and amateur astronomers to track near-Earth objects, asteroids, minor planets, and comets.
Space experts and fans have expressed an eagerness for the moment of the Falcon 9’s collision or at least the aftermath, to be caught on camera.
But for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Indian Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-2 to find the crater it hits, a more exact prediction of rocket’s direction of travel is needed.
The Falcon 9 rocket strike could also turn up some valuable data for scientists observing the Moon’s geology.
Researchers who have been looking into the presence of ice at the lunar poles for a long time, hope that the impact will go some way in revealing more about the subsurface material of the Moon.
SpaceX launched the rocket in February 2015 and placed the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite at the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian point, which is about 1.5 million kilometres away from the Earth.
For more incredible stories from the Daily Star, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here
According to a new study, Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites are hindering scientists trying to detect near-Earth asteroids,
At the moment, there are almost 1,800 Starlink satellites orbiting Earth roughly 550km away, providing internet to 24 different countries.
But astronomers say they are obstructing observations due to the frequency with which they have been leaving streaks on telescope imagery.