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When And Where To See Elon Musk’s Out Of Control SpaceX Rocket That Will Crash Into The Moon At 5,700 Mph – Forbes



When is the SpaceX rocket going to crash into the Moon?

On February 11, 2015 a Falcon 9 rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched from Cape Canaveral. After sending the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite into an orbit where there’s an unhindered view of the Sun the rocket’s spent upper stage went into a chaotic elliptical orbit of Earth.

Seven years later and it’s about to crash into the Moon, as reported first by Ars Technica after calculations by Bill Gray at Project Pluto who tracks near-Earth objects.


When will the SpaceX rocket hit the Moon?

The SpaceX rocket will hit the Moon at 12:25:58 Universal Time on March 4, 2022 when the four tonne rocket part—officially known as 2015-007B—strikes the Moon’s surface at a speed of about 5,700 mph.

It will do so because it’s elliptical orbital path takes it beyond the Earth-Moon distance.

When will the SpaceX rocket be visible?

Exactly a month earlier on February 7 and 8, 2022 the Falcon 9 upper stage is going to be visible from Earth. That’s because it will round the Earth on its night-side.

It’s the only time it’s going to be possible to see it before it loops way beyond the Moon then smashes into our natural satellite on the way back.

Before all that happens we can all take a look at object 2015-007B.

Where to watch the SpaceX rocket

Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi at The Virtual Telescope has announced that the event will be broadcast here at 18:00 UTC on both February 7 and 8, 2022. He says that on the latter date the object will be at its brightest because it will be closer to Earth, at about 28,000 miles/45,000 kilometers.

Can you watch the SpaceX rocket stage hit the Moon?

No, that’s not going to be possible—at least, not from Earth—because it will actually crash into the far side of the Moon, specifically near a carter called Hertzsprung. Probably.

However, it’s possible that the impact and/or the crater it causes could be snapped by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and/or India’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter.

But hang on … should we be outraged by this unnecessary littering/destruction of the Moon’s pristine environment with “space junk?”

NASA’s Ranger missions

It’s certainly not the first time it’s happened. NASA eventually—after a few misses—intentionally crashed some of its Ranger spacecraft into the Moon in 1964 so it could send back images of the lunar surface just before impact.

Ranger 7 sent back a whopping 4,316 images of the Moon (and left a large crater) while Ranger 8 returned more than 7,000 images and Ranger 9 live TV pictures.

NASA’s Apollo 13 booster impact experiment

In 1970 the detached upper stage of the Saturn V rocket that took the disastrous Apollo 13 to the Moon was intentionally aimed at its surface.

Its striking of the lunar surface—which also produced a small crater—was recorded by a seismometer while particle detectors sensed molecules from both the impact itself and the resulting deflection of the solar wind.

NASA’s LCROSS mission

Years later in 2009 NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission deliberately smashed a Centaur stage into the Moon on 2009 in an effort to confirm the presence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at the Moon’s south pole.

In short, lunar impacts so far have been done for science.

However, that’s not the case with the SpaceX rocket.

“We know lots of junk from lunar missions has ended up hitting the Moon, for example upper stages from lunar missions and junk left in lunar orbit,” writes astronomer Jonathan McDowell on his website. “This is the first time that something not explicitly targeted at the Moon has been noticed to accidentally hit it.”

He says that it’s mainly because no one has been paying attention to the 30 to 50 lost deep space objects until Bill Gray, who spotted 2015-007B.

Did SpaceX do something wrong?

“This is not ‘SpaceX did something bad’—it’s perfectly standard practice to abandon stuff in deep orbit,” writes McDowell. “This is ‘none of the space agencies care about leaving stuff out beyond the Moon’.”

However, with the age of commercial space industry there’s going to be a lot more junk like this. Something needs to be done. “It’s time for the world to get more serious about regulating and cataloging deep space activity,” writes McDowell.

Why we need to launch rockets and satellites

There seems to be a swell of doubt around whether the carbon footprints of rocket launches can be justified in this age of rampant climate change. Attaching the term “space junk” and Elon Musk’s name instantly make it a big and negative story.

However, it’s worth remembering that the DSCOVR satellite this spent rocket part came from is doing incredible science. It’s giving the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) read-outs of the current state of space weather, which when severe can cause problems for astronauts, satellites and electricity grids.

More importantly, it’s part of a suite of Earth and space-observing satellites that tell us much of what we know about our changing climate.

Nobody likes space junk, but it often has a noble origin.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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Don’t Read Too Much into River Otters’ Return – Hakai Magazine



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Standing at the foot of a rocky sandstone cliff, biologist Michelle Wainstein inspected her essentials: latex gloves, two long cotton swabs, glass vials, and tubes filled with buffer solution. She placed them in a blue dry bag, rolled it up, and clipped it to a rope wrapped around her waist. It was late afternoon, and she was slick with dirt and sweat from navigating the dense terrain. Her destination lay across the frigid river: two small logs of otter fecal matter resting on a mossy boulder. In she plunged.

The river, the Green-Duwamish in Washington State, trickles out of the Cascade Range and empties 150 kilometers downstream into Puget Sound. The last eight kilometers of the run—known as the lower Duwamish—is so polluted the US Environmental Protection Agency designated it a Superfund site in 2001. For a century, Seattle’s aviation and manufacturing industries routinely dumped waste chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into the water.

“A lot of the river is still really polluted,” says Jamie Hearn, the Superfund program manager at Duwamish River Community Coalition. “The mud is thick and black, and you can smell it.”


Despite the pollution, river otters are everywhere along the waterway, even in the most contaminated areas near the river’s mouth. “I would be walking the docks looking for scat,” remembers Wainstein, “and a couple of times we were lucky enough to see moms with their pups.”

For several weeks in the summer of 2016 and 2017, Wainstein surveyed otter poop she collected from a dozen sites along the river. Comparing contaminant concentrations in the otters’ poop between the river’s industrial and rural zones, Wainstein uncovered the lingering legacy of the region’s toxic past. The poop from otters in the lower Duwamish contained nearly 26 times more PCBs and 10 times more PAHs than poop from their cousins in cleaner water upstream. PCBs disrupt hormonal and neurological processes and affect reproduction in mammals. Both PCBs and PAHs are human carcinogens.

The discovery that otters along the lower Duwamish are living with such high levels of contamination upends a common narrative: that river otters’ return to a once-degraded landscape is a sign that nature is healing.

In Singapore, where smooth-coated otters have reappeared in canals and reservoirs, they have been embraced as new national mascots. “It plays into that rhetoric that government agencies want to project,” says environmental historian Ruizhi Choo, “that we’ve done such a good job that nature is coming back. That image of a city in nature is the new marketing branding.”

In Europe, the once-common Eurasian otter similarly began reappearing in the late 20th century following successful river cleanup campaigns. Conservationist Joe Gaydos at the SeaDoc Society thinks that this phenomenon has helped form the mental link between otters and ecosystem health.

“The number of animals is our first indicator,” Gaydos says. But few seem to ask the next question: are those animals healthy?

As Wainstein’s study suggests, perhaps not. The otters she analyzed in the lower Duwamish have some of the highest concentrations of PCBs and PAHs ever recorded in wild river otters. Previous research has found a correlation between PCB exposure and health risks in wild river otters, including increased bone pathologies, reproductive and immunological disorders, organ abnormalities, and hormonal changes.

Even so, the contamination is not manifesting in physically obvious ways. “They’re not washing up on shore with tumors all over their bodies,” Wainstein says, and neither is their population dwindling. “They’re not setting off this direct alarm with a big change in their ability to survive.”

The otters’ ability to bear such a heavy contaminant burden suggests that a population resurgence alone may not reflect the quality of an environment. They just become as toxic as the environments they inhabit.

However, their localized bathroom habits, mixed diet of fish, crustaceans, and mammals, and persistence in the face of pollution make them useful indicators of environmental contamination.

River otters have played this role before. Following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, river otters lingered in oil-drenched waterways, allowing scientists like Larry Duffy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to track the effectiveness of the oil cleanup. In 2014, scientists in Illinois discovered dieldrin in otter organ tissue even though the insecticide had already largely been banned for 30 years. In these cases, the collection of long-term pollution data was made possible by the creatures’ resilience in contaminated waterways. Wainstein wants to similarly use the Green-Duwamish River otters as biomonitors of the Superfund cleanup over the next decade.

Watching workers dismantle a portion of the river’s levied banks to make channels for salmon, Wainstein thinks about the seabirds, shorebirds, and small mammals, like beaver and mink, that were driven out by industrial contamination. She wonders if one day the rumbling machinery dredging up clawfuls of sediment from the riverbed will be taken over by the piercing cries of marbled murrelets, the croaks of tufted puffins, and the bubbling twittering of western snowy plovers.

“How long will it take? And will it actually work?” she says of the cleanup effort. The otters might hold the answer.

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Planets align on March 28 – CTV News London



If you had your eyes to the sky Tuesday evening you may have noticed a special alignment.

Just after sunset, Jupiter and Mercury were close to the horizon, just above that was the brightest planet Venus, a dim, greenish looking star was Uranus and a reddish/orange looking star was Mars.

This information is according to Jan Cami, a Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Western University, and the Director of the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory.


There were some clouds on the western horizon so the planets may have been difficult to see from this region.

According to Cami, the alignment was visible because of the layout of our solar system.

“All planets orbit the Sun in approximately the same plane, so you could think of the solar system as a pancake with an egg yolk at the centre that represents the Sun perhaps. The Earth of course is in that pancake, so if we look at other planets, we are always looking in that plane of the pancake, which to us looks like a line in the sky,” she told CTV News.

While it would have been interesting to see, Cami said to see the five planets fairly close to each other in the sky, is actually not super rare.

“They happen every couple of years. In fact, last June there was an alignment where the planets were visible early in the morning, in order of increasing distance from the Sun. What changes is the position of the planets. Having all eight planets of the solar system align like this is much rarer.”

If you happened to catch the alignment on camera, send us your photos and videos to

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UBCO students look up—way up—to gather research data – UBC Okanagan News – University of British Columbia



Atmospheric balloons are important tools for gathering information high above the earth in zones where people wouldn’t survive unless they wear pressurized suits.

When Lake Country’s Nolan Koblischke heard the American government was shooting down balloons suspected of spying, he was more than a little curious. The George Elliot Secondary graduate has sent one of those balloons into the atmosphere himself as a student at UBC Okanagan.


Atmospheric balloons are important tools for gathering information high above the earth in zones where people wouldn’t survive unless they wear pressurized suits. Most balloons collect climate data through radios, cameras and satellite navigation equipment—and are incapable of spying.

Koblischke, a fourth-year physics student, and Leonardo Caffarello are part of a UBCO physics and engineering team that launched a balloon to the stratosphere from a space centre in the Swedish Arctic last fall. The team, sponsored by School of Engineering Professor Jonathan Holzman, launched the balloon for a physics experiment to observe cosmic rays.

Koblischke said many people might be surprised at just how much you can learn from a balloon.

What are scientists learning from these atmospheric balloons?

These atmospheric balloons are a powerful and versatile tool for scientific research and exploration. Our balloon was launched in collaboration with Canadian and European agencies, so we were joined by other university and government agency teams from different countries.

Each team flying on the balloon had a different research objective and experiment. For instance, an Italian team was testing solar panels in the upper atmosphere to be used on satellites, a German space agency team was studying stratospheric chemistry and a Hungarian team was testing radiation sensors. We even saw an experiment to carry a telescope for atmosphere-free observations of space. Besides these applications, most balloons are used for weather purposes.

Is this the first time your project has left the ground?

No, the group was originally formed a few years ago by Caffarello and competed against other university teams in the Canadian Stratospheric Balloon Experiment Design Challenge. The UBCO student-led project was one of two experiments selected to fly onboard a high-altitude research balloon launched by the Canadian Space Agency in August 2019. The balloon was airborne at about 120,000 feet for 10 hours.

The project was working on a cosmic ray detection system and they were looking for different cosmic particles across the lower atmosphere. Caffarello has since graduated but led our team on the latest iteration of this experiment that took place in Sweden last fall.

Can you explain what you learned from the experiment last fall?

Our experiment was an innovative endeavour to detect cosmic rays in the stratosphere that Caffarello and I launched from the Esrange Space Center above the arctic circle in Sweden. We learned how to devise and construct an experiment that can withstand the severe conditions of near vacuum and extreme temperatures. We also gathered valuable data during the flight such as temperatures, pressure and images that proved that certain components of our experiment could work. Lastly, we realized that research requires perseverance and collaboration.

One of the most challenging moments was when we found an issue while preparing for the launch, a sudden failure during a pressure test. We worked until 4 am for three nights in a row, culminating in an all-nighter, to brainstorm solutions and design parts on the spot. Although we did not fully fix the problem, we remained resilient and worked diligently to resolve what we could and we were successfully approved for launch.

Cosmic rays sound dangerous

Cosmic rays can cause cancer by damaging DNA, but the chances are very small so you don’t need to lose sleep over it. Thankfully, our atmosphere blocks most of the highest energy cosmic rays, hence why we needed a balloon to get our experiment above much of the atmosphere, to try to detect more cosmic rays. You might have heard that you receive radiation when flying equivalent to a chest x-ray—cosmic rays are the reasons why.

What’s next for students at UBCO? Any more high-flying projects?

Yes, we have a student team called the UBCO StratoNeers who are currently participating in the Canadian Stratospheric Balloon Experiment Design Challenge. It’s the same competition Caffarello participated in back in 2019

The StratoNeers are testing hardware protective techniques to mitigate the occurrence of bit flips due to cosmic radiation in computer binary code. This experiment would provide new insights into protective techniques to safely store data onboard satellites, rovers and space telescopes.

Do you worry someone will shoot down your balloons?

We weren’t worried about our balloon being shot down. It did drift into Norway but thankfully the Norwegians didn’t mind.

A photo of two students in front of a weather balloon launch

Leonardo Caffarello, left, and Nolan Koblischke pose in front of their atmospheric balloon as it’s prepared for launch.

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