New Double Crater on the Moon

Image (Credit): Double crater from a rocket body that impacted the Moon on March 4, 2022, near Hertzsprung crater. (NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University)

Remember all of the chatter earlier this year about whether a SpaceX or Chinese rocket booster was about read to hit the Moon? Well, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter recently located the crater created by this object – a strange double crater. NASA reported it found an eastern crater (18-meter diameter, about 19.5 yards) superimposed on a western crater (16-meter diameter, about 17.5 yards).

While NASA has not seen double craters when other booster rockets hit the Moon’s surface (yes, it does happen occasionally), it tried to explain this one:

The double crater was unexpected and may indicate that the rocket body had large masses at each end. Typically a spent rocket has mass concentrated at the motor end; the rest of the rocket stage mainly consists of an empty fuel tank. Since the origin of the rocket body remains uncertain, the double nature of the crater may indicate its identity.

Now we just need to go back to Space X and the Chinese and ask a few more questions about the rocket booster in question. It is still doubtful we have an Elon Musk crater on the Moon. Time will tell.