Rocket moon crash LIVE – Elon Musk's SpaceX not responsible for out-of-control booster set to make impact in TWO DAYS

AN OUT-OF-CONTROL rocket part the size of a school bus will smash into the Moon this week.

According to astronomers, a rocket booster will hit the lunar surface on March 4 after spending nearly eight years tumbling through space.

It will be the first time a manmade object has crashed into another space body without being aimed there.

It was first spotted by Bill Gray, who writes the popular Project Pluto software to track near-Earth objects.

He reported that the junk was a SpaceX Falcon 9 upper stage launched from Florida in February 2015

However, Bill later retracted his claim and said the rocket part most likely belonged to China. China has since denied the accusation.

Read our rocket moon crash live blog for the latest news and updates…

  • Josie Rhodes Cook

    Does the rocket belong to China?

    Last week, China said that the rocket part is NOT theirs.

    Bill Gray, who writes the popular Project Pluto software to track near-Earth objects, however, still thinks it's an old rocket part from a lunar mission dating back to 2014.

    His claims have been backed up by Nasa and other experts.

    They believe it's from China’s Chang’e 5-T1 mission, which was used to test technology for bringing samples back from the Moon.

  • Josie Rhodes Cook

    China's denial

    "According to China’s monitoring, the upper stage of the Chang’e-5 mission rocket has fallen through the Earth’s atmosphere in a safe manner and burnt up completely,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said of the mystery object on course to hit the moon.

    However, experts noticed that China referred to the Chang’e-5 mission, not the similarly named Chang’e 5-T1 mission at the heart of it.

  • Josie Rhodes Cook

    Who predicted the collision, continued

    "Back in 2015, I (mis)identified this object as 2015-007B, the second stage of the DSCOVR spacecraft," Gray wrote on February 12.

    "We now have good evidence that it is actually 2014-065B, the booster for the Chang'e 5-T1 lunar mission."

  • Josie Rhodes Cook

    Who predicted the collision?

    In January, space trackers calculated that a piece of manmade debris was on course to hit the Moon and it was first spotted by Bill Gray, who writes the popular Project Pluto software to track near-Earth objects.

    He reported that the junk was a SpaceX Falcon 9 upper stage launched from Florida in February 2015.

    It was on a mission to deploy an Earth observation satellite called DSCOVR for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    However, Gray later retracted his claim and said the rocket part most likely belonged to China, and China has since denied the accusation.

  • Josie Rhodes Cook

    'Intrinsic uncertainty'

    Professor Jonathan McDowell from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told BBC News he agrees with Gray's re-assessment that the rocket part most likely belonged to China instead.

    He said there is lots of "intrinsic uncertainty" in identifying space debris and errors in identification can occur.

    "We rely on a small handful of volunteers who do it on their own time," he explained to the BBC.

    "So there is limited scope for cross-checking."

  • Josie Rhodes Cook

    What is the rocket booster?

    The object is probably part of a rocket that launched a small Chinese spacecraft, called Chang’e 5-T1, towards the Moon in 2014.

    Bill Gray, who writes the popular Project Pluto software to track near-Earth objects, originally reported that the junk was a SpaceX Falcon 9 upper stage launched from Florida in February 2015.

    However, Bill later retracted his claim and said the rocket part most likely belonged to China instead.

    China has since denied the accusation.

  • Josie Rhodes Cook

    Impact on the moon

    The collision of the rocket booster and the moon is expected to produce a cloud of debris and leave behind a small crater.

    However, no serious damage is expected to occur.

  • Josie Rhodes Cook

    Where will the rocket hit?

    The collision will occur on the far side of the Moon.

    The one-tonne hunk of space junk is traveling at around 2.6 km per second.

  • Josie Rhodes Cook

    When will the rocket hit the moon?

    According to astronomers, a rocket booster will hit the moon's surface on March 4 after spending almost eight years tumbling through space.

    It will be the first time a manmade object has crashed into another space body without being aimed there.

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