Moon Will Be Hit by 3 Tons of Mystery 'Space Junk' With an Unknown Origin on Friday, Officials Say

Image of the moon with a shadowImage of the moon with a shadow
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Experts have confirmed that 3 tons of unknown material will be colliding with the moon on Friday at a rate of 5800 miles per hour, causing moon dust to be spread and a crater to be left behind.

The moon is expected to be hit with 3 tons of junk from space on Friday, according to CBS News.

Initially, SpaceX took responsibility for the leftover junk when Bill Gray, an asteroid tracker, shared details of the collision’s course in the beginning of 2022. 

Gray believed it had been a SpaceX Falcon rocket upper stage from the 2015 launch of a deep space climate observatory for NASA. However, a month later he said that the "mystery" object was indeed not from SpaceX, according to CBS.

Gray now believes the material to be the third stage of a Chinese rocket test sample from 2014, but Chinese experts do not agree with the assessment, as ministry officials said the upper stage had burned up when it re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

Because there were two Chinese operations that were similar, U.S. officials believe there could be confusion between the two, CBS reported. 

According to the outlet, the U.S. Space Command — which tracks “lower space junk,” has confirmed that the Chinese upper stage from the 2014 lunar mission never actually deorbited, despite the database records.  

However, authorities are unable to determine exactly where the current junk has come from. 

Experts have confirmed that the material will smash into the far side of the moon at 5,800 mph on Friday. 

It could take up to months to confirm the impact through satellite images, experts said. The moon is defenseless due to a lack of weather or erosion and the end result will be a crater regardless of the origin of the space junk, according to CBS. 

"The effect will be the same," Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said. "It'll leave yet another small crater on the moon."

According to the outlet, scientists expect the remnants to leave a hole 33 feet to 66 feet across and for the impact to send dust flying hundreds of miles across the moon.

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