The US space agency described what will happen as an “interesting research opportunity,” according to AFP.
A NASA spokeswoman told the French agency that the expected event is expected to occur on March 4, 2022.
She indicated that the collision of the second rocket stage, which weighs about 4 tons, will not be observed from Earth when it occurs, even from the NASA “lunar orbiter” probe, which is currently orbiting the moon “in a position that enables it to see the impact of the collision process.”
This probe could later be used to take pictures comparing the situation before and after the impact.
The spokeswoman pointed out that finding the crater that the missile will create “will be difficult, and the process may take weeks and perhaps several months,” adding that “the special event represents an interesting research opportunity,” according to AFP.
The study of a crater formed by the thrust of an object of unknown weight and speed can contribute to providing new information about the geology of the Moon or to scientific studies on Earth’s satellite.
It is noteworthy that SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket in 2015, and its mission was to put a NASA observatory in orbit, while the second stage of the rocket has remained in space since that time.
In the past, vehicles have been launched to collide with the Moon with the aim of accomplishing scientific missions, including the Apollo missions to test seismometers, but this upcoming collision is the first unintended accident that has been detected.