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Apollo 16 Lunar Crash Site Finally Found After 43 Years

01/12/2015 10:16 GMT | Updated 01/12/2015 10:59 GMT

Apollo 16 was just like any other moon mission, except that when the astronauts returned home there was a single mystery left on the lunar surface.

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The small matter of the third stage of the massive Saturn V rocket which had plummeted onto the moon's surface. Deliberately crashing the rocket into the moon had always been part of the plan as NASA would go on to analyse the crash and crater data afterwards.

However something went wrong during the procedure and the S-IVB stage rocket disappeared from view and from screens presumably never to be found again.

crater

Well Jeff Plescia, a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory decided that this just wasn't good enough and so 43 years after the rocket plummeted towards the moon's surface in 1972, he finally found its final resting place.

Utilising the thousands of high-resolution images captured by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Plescia was able to scan the roughly defined crash site and trawled through the images until finally, he found the crater.

saturn

The third stage of the Saturn V was used to propel the spacecraft out of Earth's orbit.

While the data was never recovered it is the final piece of the puzzle and can at the very least, mean that NASA's file on Apollo 16 is finally complete.