One more crater!
We may finally have found closure for the saga of the derelict rocket believed to have crashed into the Moon earlier this year. Scientists have discovered a newly-formed double crater on the far side of our natural satellite, according to a NASA press release, where they believe the defunct spacecraft smashed down.
Using imagery captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), astronomers were able to deduce that the mystery space debris — spotted on collision course for the Moon back in February — crash-landed near the Hertzsprung Crater in early March.
The scientific community also seems very pleased that the debris made lunar contact pretty much right where they thought it would.
Crash Into You
The ramshackle rocket has faced its fair share of controversy.
When the hunk of junk was first caught speeding towards the lunar surface, it was believed to a SpaceX second stage Falcon 9 craft — an allegation that CEO Elon Musk took a lot of heat for.
But further observation revealed otherwise, and now experts believe that the unfortunate debris was actually a Chinese Chang'e 5-T1 booster, left over from the nation's 2014 mission to the Moon.
China, however, denies any responsibility, insisting that the Chang'e shuttle in question was eviscerated when re-entering Earth's atmosphere.
The fact that the Definitely Not Chinese rocket created a double crater raises its own questions. As Gizmodo points out, it's a strange mark for any spacecraft to make; NASA speculates that the "unexpected" impact shape implies that the space trash must have had "large masses at each end," which doesn't necessarily check out for a Chang'e. So, maybe we don't have closure after all?
In any case, it's a bummer that humankind has officially hurled even more garbage at our lunar friend in the sky. This is why we can't have nice things.
READ MORE: Likely Crash Site of Mystery Space Junk Spotted on Moon’s Far Side [Gizmodo]
More on space junk: Russia Forced to Dodge Space Debris From When It Blew Up Satellite