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Rocket stage to hit Moon is from Chinese rocket, not Falcon 9 upper stage

Astronomers have now concluded that the rocket stage that will impact the Moon on March 4th is not an abandoned the Falcon 9 upper stage that launched the DISCOVR satellite in 2015, but an upper stage from a Chinese rocket.

It was an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Jon Giorgini, who realized this object was not in fact the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket. He wrote to Gray on Saturday morning explaining that the DSCOVR spacecraft’s trajectory did not go particularly close to the Moon, and that it would therefore be a little strange if the second stage strayed close enough to strike it. This prompted Gray to dig back into his data, and identify other potential candidates.

He soon found one—the Chinese Chang’e 5-T1 mission launched in October 2014 on a Long March 3C rocket. This lunar mission sent a small spacecraft to the Moon as a precursor test for an eventual lunar sample return mission. The launch time and lunar trajectory are almost an exact match for the orbit of the object that will hit the Moon in March.

Regardless, it will be very useful to pindown the exact impact time and place so that astronomers can observe it.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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