Modeling by independent researchers showed that part of the Apollo 11 spacecraft did not fall to the lunar surface. According to their assumption, it is in the orbit of a satellite of the Earth.

James Meador, an independent researcher at the California Institute of Technology, has found evidence that the Apollo 11 ascension stage may still be in orbit around the moon. He wrote a paper outlining his findings and posted them on the arXiv preprint server.

In 1969, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history by landing a ship on the moon. After more than 21 hours on the lunar surface, the astronauts traveled back to Earth on a portion of the Eagle spacecraft called the ascension stage. Shortly thereafter, they met up with Michael Collins at the command module, which took them back to Earth. Before leaving for Earth, the descent stage was thrown into space – NASA engineers assumed that after a while it would fall back to the surface of the Moon. Midor notes that the step did not fall on the moon, but is still in its orbit.

Midor began his investigation with the question of whether it was possible to find the descent stage, which, according to his assumption, should have been on the surface of the moon. He noted that in 2012 NASA sent spacecraft into orbit around the Moon as part of the GRAIL project to map the gravitational field of an Earth satellite. This allowed him to trace the spacecraft’s descent to the moon using a NASA-created instrument called the General Mission Analysis Tool, which can be used to plot the trajectories of spacecraft around planets or moons if their gravitational field is known.

After adding data from the GRAIL, Midor ran the simulation several times, using various parameters to simulate conditions that likely existed from the time the lander was reset to the present. He also included data that took into account the gravity of the Sun and other planets (other than Mercury), and data describing the forces caused by solar radiation. He found that all of his simulations showed that the lander was maintaining a stable orbit.

Midor admits that other factors could have led to the death of the device – for example, the remaining fuel could explode during the degradation of the device, which could change the orbit of the remains. But he also notes that if the agency decides to search for it, then NASA has the technology needed to detect the craft if it is still in orbit.