Do the videos show Rocket hitting the Moon?

In March 2022, debris from a rocket crashed into the far side of the moon. Shortly after this news broke, videos began circulating online purporting to show this lunar impact event. We reviewed several of these viral videos and found in all cases that they were the work of digital VFX artists, not actual footage of a rocket hitting the moon.

A popular version of this claim centered on a video purporting to show a rocket hitting the moon from two different vantage points: California and Texas.

@wtfvidtok

😳 #VFX #wtf #fyp

♬ original sound – Crazyest Vids

These are not real videos of a rocket hitting the moon. The two videos displayed above were created by Greg Pietrantonio, a TikTok user known for creating digital montages. In July 2021, for example, Pietrantonio created a compelling video that allegedly showed a tornado circling dangerously near Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Pietrantonio told us at the time that the video was “the result of some VFX [visual effects] and video editing with Adobe After Effects.

A number of other videos apparently showing a rocket hitting the moon have also surfaced online.

Although we have not found the source of this video, it is clearly a digital editing. For starters, if there was a real video of a rocket crashing into the moon, it would be widely reported by credible media. But it is not the case here. Second, the moon is about 240,000 miles from Earth. We doubt a rocket would be clearly visible at this distance with the naked eye. (We have contacted NASA for more information and will update this article accordingly).

Finally, the moon was in its crescent moon phase on March 4, 2022, but in the video above, the moon is almost full.

Here is another video purporting to show this lunar impact event:

@_nacho_cheese

The Lunar Crash 2022 #fyp

♬ Oh no – Kreepa

We could not find the source of this video. However, again, this is a digital edit and not an actual video of a rocket hitting the moon.

As of this writing, there are simply no authentic images of rocket debris crashing into the moon. The impact took place on the far side of the moon, where it was hidden from the telescopes of world scientists. If NASA and other space agencies were unable to witness this crash, we doubt anyone else could have captured video of a rocket hitting the moon in broad daylight with their cell phone.

Live Science reported that the debris would originally have been part of a SpaceX rocket, but researchers now believe it came from China’s Chang’e 5-T1 mission. It could take scientists months to investigate the scene and come up with official answers about where the debris came from.

This is the first time space debris has accidentally collided with the lunar surface, scientists say. But because the collision happened on the far side of the moon, it could take scientists months to find the crater, confirm the impact and possibly find clues that could put an end to its controversial origins.

While rocket debris most likely hit the moon on March 4, 2022, no evidence of that crash will be found via cellphone videos on TikTok.


Sources:

“Abandoned Rocket ‘Hits the Moon’ – Scientists.” BBC News, March 4, 2022. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60596449.

“Did a tornado pass through a Philadelphia Phillies game in 2021?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/phillies-tornado-baseball-video/. Accessed April 13, 2022.

Moon Phase on 03/04/2022 | NextFullMoon.Org. https://nextfullmoon.org/moon-calendar-day/3/4/2022. Accessed April 13, 2022.

Turner, Ben. “An out-of-control rocket could have hit the Moon.” Livescience.Com, March 4, 2022, https://www.livescience.com/rocket-hits-moon.

John C. Dent