Mystery rocket crashes into Moon and leaves baffling ‘double crater,’ NASA says

NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University photo
·1 min read

A “mystery rocket body” crashed into the Moon and left a “double crater,” which is an even bigger mystery to scientists.

That means it wasn’t your average rocket, NASA reported in a June 24 news release.

So far, none of Earth’s space exploring nations have taken credit — or blame — for the crash.

NASA says astronomers spotted the rocket on a collision course with the Moon last year, and were waiting to see what might happen.

It hit March 4 and apparently put on quite a show.

“Surprisingly the crater is actually two craters, an eastern crater (18-meter diameter, about 19.5 yards) superimposed on a western crater (16-meter diameter, about 17.5 yards),” NASA reported.

“The double crater was unexpected. ... No other rocket body impacts on the Moon created double craters.”

At least 47 NASA rocket bodies have created “spacecraft impacts” on the Moon, according to 2016 data from Arizona State University.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted the double crater site near the Hertzsprung crater, a “complex” impact crater on the far side of the Moon.

The double crater may indicate the rocket “had large masses at each end,” which is not the norm, NASA says.

Spent rockets typically have a heavy motor at one end and a lighter empty fuel tank at the other, scientists say.

So what was the additional heavy mass? NASA didn’t offer guesses.

“Since the origin of the rocket body remains uncertain, the double nature of the crater may indicate its identity,” NASA says.

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