NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured photos of a rocket impression that created a double crater on the moon. The rocket that precipitated the lunar crater is believed to be from a Chinese Long March 3C rocket booster, although that has not been definitively confirmed.

Earlier this 12 months a big object in area was predicted to impression the moon on March 4th, and had been tracked for months by astronomers. Bill Gray, a developer constructing software program for skilled astronomers, first thought the area particles was from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. He later modified his thoughts, indicating he believed it to as a substitute be from a Chinese Long March 3C rocket. Now photos have been shared by NASA exhibiting the impression crater believed to have been made by the area particles again in March of this 12 months, which left an odd double crater on the lunar floor.

In a put up from NASA on its web site, the area company mentioned it was shocked the indentation was really two craters. The picture reveals an eastern crater (18-meter diameter, about 19.5 yards) superimposed on a western crater (16-meter diameter, about 17.5 yards). The reality the impression from the rocket physique left a double crater has NASA speculating that the accountable “rocket body had large masses at each end.”

Image Credit: NASA

Normally a spent rocket could have its mass concentrated on the motor finish, with the remainder of the rocket-stage primarily consisting of an empty gasoline tank. NASA said that whereas the origin of the rocket physique stays unsure, the very fact it left a double crater could point out its id. However, NASA has not but mentioned what that id could also be.

There have been different rocket physique impacts previously for NASA to match the latest one to (see picture above). There are 4 different craters on the moon created by previous Apollo missions. While the craters left by the 4 Apollo missions (Apollos 13, 14, 15, 17) have been a bit irregular in form, they have been considerably bigger (higher than 35 meters, about 38 yards) than the current double craters.

Bill Gray nonetheless stands by his identification of the Chinese Long March 3C rocket as being the item that precipitated the double crater. “I can’t say the double crater proves things one way or the other,” Gray said in an interview with The Register. “That bit is a head-scratcher. I don’t think this will tell us anything about whether it’s the Chang’e 5-T1 booster. We basically have that nailed from other information. And the selenologists, who know a lot more about crater formation than I do, may come up with a completely different reason as to how a perfectly normal bit of rocket hardware could generate twin craters.”

Top Image Credit: NASA