Two new craters on the moon puzzle Nasa. Astronomers have mapped how they formed and when, and know that it happened in connection with a rocket crashing on the celestial body. But no one knows whose rocket is.
In late 2021, a group of astronomers discovered that a rocket was heading for the moon. The crash itself took place on March 4 this year and now Nasa, with the help of the space probe "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter", has for the first time published images of the crash.
An article published on the US space agency's website describes the extent of the crater - which in fact consists of two such.
- It's cool, precisely because it's an unexpected result, says Mark Robinson, professor of geology, who works to produce images from the "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter", to the New York Times .
The eastern crater is about 18 meters in diameter and overlaps the western, which in turn is 16 meters in diameter. No other rocket has caused double craters on the moon, and in total they extend 29 meters in width.
NASA compares the size of the craters with those from the Apollo rockets that struck the moon in rounds during the 1970s. The largest pit from there measures 35 meters in width.
Who fired the rocket?
The question that eludes astronomers now is what kind of spacecraft reached the moon this spring. At present, it is highly unclear and no country has reported the rocket as its own.
NASA's theory goes no further than speculating on what may have caused a double crater. The mass of a spacecraft is usually concentrated at the end, where the engine is located. No one currently knows more than that.
- It will always be much more fun than if the forecasts for the crater, its depth and its diameter, had been completely certain, says Mark Robinson.