China denies space junk projected to hit the moon isn’t theirs

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China denies space junk projected to hit the moon isn't theirs

The blame game over a rogue rocket part that’s expected to crash into the Moon has intensified after China said it is not theirs.

Doomed spare debris was originally thought to belong to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

However, the space tracker behind it apparently got it wrong and has now pointed the finger at China.

It’s thought to be an old rocket part from a lunar mission dating back to 2014.

Astronomer Bill Gray’s claims were later backed up by NASA and other experts.

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

It’s expected to make a dramatic crash on March 4.

But China is having none of it.

“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.

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 – both are completely different.

So now astronomer Gray believes the country got the two missions “mixed up”.

SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk looks on as he visits the construction site of Tesla's gigafactory in Gruenheide, near Berlin, Germany, May 17, 2021.
The space debris was originally thought to be a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket until astronomer Bill Gray recalculated his claim.
REUTERS

What the confusion shows is that there should be better tracking of deep space junk, he argues.

“Many more spacecraft are now going into high orbits, and some of them will be taking crews to the Moon,” Gray said.

“Such junk will no longer be merely an annoyance to a small group of astronomers.

“A few fairly simple steps would help quite a bit.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin speaks at the Foreign Ministry briefing in Beijing on November 9, 2020.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin argues the space rocket will not hit the Moon and will “burnt up completely.”
AFP via Getty Images

For now, many are firm in their belief that the space debris does originate from China and will be waiting to see how it pans out on March 4.

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This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.

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