The takeoff unit of the Apollo 11 lunar shuttle could still revolve around the Moon, according to University of California, Caltech researcher James Meador. Meador performed his simulations several times using different parameters, taking into account, for example, the gravitational field of the Sun or other planets, as well as the radiation of the Sun.
Meador writes evidence of this from his research, uploaded to the arXiv server, an online scientific research repository, on the PhysOrg science outreach portal.
NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin successfully landed on the moon in 1969. After spending more than 21 hours on the surface, they re-embarked with the takeoff unit (AS) that is part of the Eagle shuttle. moon. They soon connected to the command module that transported them back to Earth. Before they returned, the takeoff unit was released into space.
NASA engineers assumed that over time it would crash back to the lunar surface.
However, Meador reports that this has not happened and that the AS is still orbiting the celestial body.
At the beginning of his research, the expert wanted to find out if it was possible to find the takeoff unit that was supposed to be on the surface of the Moon.In 2012, NASA sent a spacecraft into orbit around the Moon as part of the GRAIL project to map the gravitational field of the celestial body. Meador considered that the location of the arrival of AS on the Moon could be determined using NASA’s general mission analysis tool (General mission analysis tool) to track the trajectory of a spacecraft around planets or moons with knowledge of the gravitational field.
Meador performed his simulations several times using different parameters, taking into account, for example, the gravitational field of the Sun or other planets, as well as the radiation of the Sun.
The researcher acknowledges that even other factors may have led to the destruction of the takeoff unit, such as the remaining fuel that could explode during the descent, thus changing its trajectory.
He added that if NASA decides to locate the AS, the technology to do so will be available if it is really orbiting the Moon.