Elon Musk is now dumping some of his rubbish on the moon, as if we don’t have enough trash on Earth. In just over a week, a renegade four-ton SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that has been floating around in space since 2015 will collide into the moon.

“Space garbage can be a little tricky,” writes Bill Gray, the inventor of Project Pluto, which records Near Earth Objects. He claims, however, that he can forecast with some certainty since he has an approximate idea of how much sunlight is pushing outward on the object, softly pushing it away from the sun.

I have a fairly complete mathematical model of what the Earth, Moon, Sun, and planets are doing and how their gravity is affecting the object.

This is the first unintentional case of which I am aware. I keep track of a dozen or so objects in ‘high,’ near-moon orbits, mostly so that the folks looking for asteroids will know where they are (and can ignore them; they’re looking for rocks, not junk.) In theory, given enough time, such objects will either hit the earth, or the moon, or gain energy by passing the moon and be ejected into orbit around the sun.

With all of this in mind, Gray claims that the unpredictable impacts are extremely tiny, and that the wayward SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will hit the moon around March 4 according to his calculations. Despite what is projected to be a massive 5,760 mph impact, astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics thinks it shouldn’t effect us here on Earth.

In 2019 that the European Space Agency (ESA) estimates that there are over 750,000 particles of space debris orbiting Earth. There is so much junk that keeping it from colliding with and harming things like the International Space Station has turned into a full-time job.

Reactions to the news that one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets was about to scatter debris on the moon were not terribly kind.

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Tags: Elon Musk
Gunjan Nath

In search of simplicity and inner peace, Gunjan is basically a guy soldiering through his paranoia. You could say Art, Witty/Dark Humor, Movies, Anime, Post-rock/Black Metal/Hip-Hop/Shoegaze Music, Football, Creative Writing, Photography, Videography are his forte. A Jack of All Trades and a Master of Many.

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