Re: Space Junk

Philip Chien (kc4yer@amsat.org)
Fri, 1 Dec 1995 12:07:40 -0400

Geoff Chester nasep007@sivm.si.edu said:

>In response to a message from Kenny Skidmore regarding Apollo "junk":
>
>Most of the Apollo hardware is either on the Moon or in solar orbit.  On
>all of the lunar missions the S-IVB stage was sent into solar orbit or
>(beginning with Apollo 13) deliberately crashed into the lunar surface.
>Similarly, the Lunar Module ascent stages were deliberately crashed on the
>Moon, except for "Eagle", the Apollo 11 LM ascent stage. It is still in lunar
>orbit.

I highly doubt Eagle's ascent stage would still be in lunar orbit, after 26
years.  Lunar orbits are inherently unstable due to the moon's 'lumpy'
gravitational field, caused primarily by the mascons (high density regions
below the moon's surface).

We may not be sure when the ascent stage crashed in to the moon, or where
it crashed, but we can say with almost certainty that it did crash in to
the lunar surface at some point.


Philip Chien, Earth News - space writer and consultant  PCHIEN@IDS.NET
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