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SpaceX rocket fragment will crash into the moon

SpaceX will be getting to the moon a bit more than a month from now, far earlier than expected. But it’s all by accident, and it’ll cause a bit of a mess. SpaceX, the rocket company started by Elon Musk, has been selected by NASA to provide the spaceship that will take its astronauts back to the surface of the moon. That is still years away.

Instead, it is the four-ton upper stage of a SpaceX rocket launched seven years ago that is to crash into the moon on March 4, based on recent observations and calculations by amateur astronomers.

The impact is predicted for 7:25 a.m. Eastern time, and while there is still some uncertainty in the exact time and place, the rocket piece is not going to miss the moon, said Bill Gray, developer of Project Pluto, a suite of astronomical software used to calculate the orbits of asteroids and comets.
“It is quite certain it’s going to hit, and it will hit within a few minutes of when it was predicted and probably within a few kilometers,” Mr. Gray said.
The observations pinned down the trajectory enough to predict an impact. Astronomers will have a chance to take one more look next month before the rocket stage swings out beyond the moon one last time. It should then come in to hit the far side of the moon, out of sight of anyone from Earth.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will not be in a position to see the impact live. But it will later pass over the expected impact site and take photographs of the freshly excavated crater.

Mark Robinson, a professor of earth and space exploration at Arizona State University who serves as the principal investigator for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s camera, said he expected four tons of metal, hitting at a speed of some 5,700 miles per hour, would carve out a divot 10 to 20 meters wide, or up to 65 feet in diameter.

That will give a scientists a look at what lies below the surface, and unlike meteor strikes, they will know exactly the size and time of the impact.

Source: mybroadband

In other news – Alec Baldwin seeks dismissal of civil suit over fatal Rust shooting

Attorneys for Alec Baldwin and other producers of the movie “Rust” are asking a court to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by a script supervisor who was on the set when the actor fatally shot a cinematographer.

Alec Baldwin

In a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, the attorneys said the claim by Mamie Mitchell should be thrown out because there was no evidence that Baldwin or any of the producers intended harm. Baldwin was the lead actor and a producer of the independent film, a Western. Learn more

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