Space junk: We don’t know whose rocket is about to hit the moon – that’s a problem

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An old rocket will slam into the far side of the moon on 4 March and no one is accepting ownership of the space junk – similar objects could pose a safety risk for future crewed lunar missions



Space



23 February 2022

space junk

A representation of space junk in orbit around Earth

ESA/ID&Sense/ONiRiXEL

Whose moon rocket is it? China has denied it is the owner of a rocket that is about to hit the moon – but experts believe it is. The confusion has highlighted our inadequacies in tracking space junk, particularly at remote distances from Earth, with implications for returning humans to the moon.

In January, astronomers announced that a human-made object was set to hit the far side of the moon on 4 March. Initially identified as the upper stage of a SpaceX Falcon …

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