Space just keeps getting more mysterious with every new discovery that comes our way. Earlier this year, a "mystery rocket" that crashed into our moon left NASA puzzled as to who was responsible for launching it. Recently, the agency shared images that showed just how strange the impact behind the unexplained collision was...
According to NASA, the crash left behind a massive "double-crater," indicating that it wasn't just an average rocket that created the impact. On June 24, 2022, the agency's vodcast tweeted the new photo of the site. After obtaining new images of the two overlapping impact sites, it was able to finally determine the size of the crash. "Surprisingly the crater is actually two craters, an eastern crater (18-meter diameter, about 19.5 yards) superimposed on a western crater (16-meter diameter, about 17.5 yards," the space agency reported. "The double crater was unexpected... No other rocket body impacts on the Moon created double craters."
According to experts, the impact was expected after they discovered an unidentified fragment in space was on its way to collide with the moon. However, "the double crater was unexpected," NASA said in a press release. "No other rocket body impacts on the moon created double craters." The agency offered one theory that may explain the double-crater, saying it could be the result of two large masses on each side of the rocket. However, they added that this was unlikely, since spent rockets usually carry a heavy motor on one side and a much lighter empty fuel tank on the other. Therefore, the impact would be much less symmetrical.
After a rocket body impacted the Moon last year, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was able to snap a surprising view of the impact site. Unexpectedly, the crater is actually two craters and may indicate that the rocket body had large masses at each end: https://t.co/WtMAFrNkUw pic.twitter.com/hcoYPxlm8z— NASA 360 (@NASA360) June 27, 2022
"Since the origin of the rocket body remains uncertain, the double nature of the crater may indicate its identity," NASA explained. According to 2016 data obtained from Arizona State University, there have been "spacecraft impacts" on the moon caused by at least 47 rockets. Four of the large craters on the moon, which have been caused by Apollo 13, 14, 15, and 17 missions, are significantly larger than each of the overlapping craters left by the recent impact in March 2022. However, according to NASA, the size of the entire double crater is similar to that of the Apollo craters. Researchers are now more determined than ever to find out the cause of the mysterious impact. Stay tuned as we learn more about it!