Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969. Four days later, on July 20, humans stepped on the moon for the first time in history. The eagle sounded: “The eagle has landed!” The Apollo lunar lander consisted of two parts. For the return from the moon, only the upper portion, the ascent stage, was used to launch the astronauts and the recovered moon rocks into orbit.
The landing section, the landing stage, was left on the lunar surface and served as a launch pad. Once in orbit around the moon, the astronauts attached the ascent stage to the command module, which has been orbiting the moon the entire time. Then the two astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, boarded that command module, which was piloted by Michael Collins.
Smaller and smaller circles around the moon.
After the moon rocks are moved, the dam can be closed and the ascent phase cleared. NASA realized a few months later, during the Apollo 12 mission, that the eagle might still be orbiting the moon. Then assume that the unit will slowly lose altitude and eventually affect the Moon. However, no one was able to answer that.
…or coils in a stable orbit?
Recently, scientist James Medor of the California Institute of Technology decided to track down where the Eagle would have been crushed. After all, the date, time and place of disposal of the unit are well known. It happened at an altitude of about 125 kilometers above the surface of the Moon. But whatever uncertainties Midor included in his calculations, the result was that the eagle entered a stable orbit around the moon, rather than crashing into the lunar surface.
So the ascent phase may still revolve around the moon. In that case, radar observations from Earth would likely locate the eagle—and possibly bring it back to Earth.
Unfortunately, there is also a possibility that the eagle may have exploded because it still had fuel in it. But if the eagle is still around, shouldn’t we bring it back to Earth and put it in a space museum? This would be a great place for a historic spacecraft.
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