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NASA Lunar Orbiter Spots China’s Micro-satellite Impact Site

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LRO imagery exhibits affect web site for China’s mini-satellite.
Credit score: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State College

China’s Longjiang-2 spacecraft (also called DSLWP-B) crashed onto the lunar farside on July 31, 2019 after finishing its orbital mission. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has noticed the obvious affect web site.

China’s micro lunar orbiter — Longjiang-2 (also called DSLWP-B).
Credit score: Harbin Institute of Know-how 

The Longjiang-2 satellite tv for pc was launched to the Moon together with the Queqiao relay communications satellite tv for pc on Might 20, 2018 by the China Nationwide Area Company (CNSA). The small spacecraft – weighing almost 100 kilos (45 kilograms) — was designed to work with its twin (Longjiang-1) to validate applied sciences for low-frequency radio astronomy observations.

Influence consequence

In accordance with Mark Robinson, chief of the LRO Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Digicam (LROC) at Arizona State College, a brand new lunar crater has been recognized and most probably the results of that affect.

In a posting, Robinson saluted the workforce led by novice radio operator, Daniel Estévez of Tres Cantos, Spain, that estimated the small spacecraft impacted someplace inside Van Gent crater (16.69°N, 159.52°E).

Cautious comparability

The LROC workforce used these coordinates to picture the realm on October 5, 2019. Via a cautious comparability of pre-existing LROC Slim Angle Digicam (NAC) photos, the LROC workforce was in a position to find a brand new affect crater (16.6956°N, 159.5170°E, ±10 meters), a distance of solely 328 meters from the estimated web site!

The brand new affect crater is situated on a steep slope, larger than 20°, measured from an LROC NAC Digital Terrain Mannequin.
Credit score: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State College

The crater is 13 toes (four meters) by 16 toes (5 meters) in diameter, with the lengthy axis oriented southwest to northeast.

Primarily based on proximity to the estimated crash coordinates and the crater measurement, “we’re pretty assured that this new crater shaped on account of the Longjiang-2 affect,” Robinson notes.

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