Astronomy experts say they first misunderstood the secret of the night sky last month. It turns out that the rocket, which is expected to hit the moon in early March, was manufactured by China, not SpaceX.
The rocket is now said to be the 2014-065B, a booster for Chang’e 5-T1 launched in 2014 as part of China’s space agency lunar exploration program.
The surprising announcement was made by astronomer Bill Gray. He first identified future implications and admitted his mistakes last weekend.
“This (honest mistake) only emphasizes the problem of lack of proper tracking of these deep space objects,” tweeted astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who advocates greater regulation of space debris.
“The object was the brightness we expected, appeared at the expected time, and was moving in a reasonable orbit,” he wrote in a post.
But “in retrospect, I should have noticed some strange things about that trajectory,” he added.
NASA said in late January that it would try to observe the craters formed by the explosion of this object, thanks to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a spacecraft that orbits the Moon.
The agency called the event an “exciting research opportunity.”
© 2022 AFP
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Astronomers say the rocket set to hit the moon was built by China, not SpaceX.
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