China's Suspicious Move: Booster rocket that crashed into Moon in 2022 was carrying top-secret payload

China's Suspicious Move: Booster rocket that crashed into Moon in 2022 was carrying top-secret payload

Nov 17, 2023 - 16:30
 0  18
China's Suspicious Move: Booster rocket that crashed into Moon in 2022 was carrying top-secret payload

In a celestial mystery that has left scientists scratching their heads, the Moon’s surface has become the stage for a peculiar crash that has raised questions about undisclosed lunar payloads. On March 4, 2022, an unexpected rocket booster collided with the Moon, leaving behind two equally-sized impact craters and a host of unanswered queries.

Initially believed to be a discarded SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from 2015, further investigation unveiled a twist – the crash culprit was a booster launched by China in 2014 as part of its lunar exploration program. As scientists probed the collision, the peculiar nature of the impact raised suspicions that there might have been an undisclosed object onboard, turning the lunar crash site into a scientific whodunit.

Researchers from the University of Arizona, who had been tracking the object’s trajectory for seven years, detailed their findings in a recent paper published in The Planetary Science Journal. The team analyzed the rocket’s light reflection signature and its movement through space, leading them to propose that the booster carried a mystery payload that met its end on the lunar surface.

Tanner Campbell, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona and lead author of the study, noted, “This is the first time we see a double crater.” The researchers observed that for the creation of two craters of equal size, there must have been two roughly equal masses that impacted the Moon at a distance from each other.

The object, initially identified as WE0913A, was first mistaken for a Falcon 9 rocket booster but was later confirmed to be from China’s Long March 3C rocket, launched by the China National Space Administration, or CNSA. Launched for a future sample return mission test flight, the booster was left in space after completing its mission of propelling its payload into lunar orbit.

Using a high-powered telescope, researchers tracked the booster’s peculiar behaviour, tumbling end-over-end in a stable manner, suggesting an additional mass mounted to its front as a counterweight to the engines. The subsequent observation of the double impact craters on the Moon further supported the theory of a mystery payload.

China, known for keeping mission details confidential, has not disclosed the nature of the undisclosed object. As lunar exploration missions continue, the incident highlights the need for increased transparency in disclosing the payloads carried by various space agencies and industry leaders. The Moon, it seems, holds not only the remnants of past missions but also the enigma of lunar secrets yet to be unveiled.

(With inputs from agencies)

What's Your Reaction?

like

dislike

love

funny

angry

sad

wow