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Lunar Module That’s Been Floating Through Space for 50 Years May Have Been Found Popular Mechanics

Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bettmann – Getty Images
  • Snoopy, the 50-year-old NASA lunar module that helped with the first Moon landing during the Apollo 10 mission, may have been found by an amateur team of astronomers.
  • Nick Howes, a member of the team, says he is “98 percent convinced” that their finding is the long lost Snoopy module, which was shot into orbit (without being tracked) in 1969.
  • Howes suggests that once it’s confirmed the module is indeed Snoopy, Elon Musk should use a SpaceX aircraft to retrieve it.

Fifty years ago this July, the United States put a man on the moon, effectively ending the Space Race and owning one of the most historic events in human history. The efforts that went into making the Moon landing possible were myriad and took years to complete. Now, one piece of gear used in the race⁠-a relic astronomers have been searching for since they sent it to space five decades ago-may have finally been found.

The “Snoopy” lunar module was part of the Apollo 10 mock mission that ended with the module being launched into space, where it has been floating aimlessly ever since.

Photo credit: Historical - Getty Images
Photo credit: Historical – Getty Images

Back then, NASA did not follow Snoopy’s trajectory, so it was forgotten about until Nick Howes, a Royal Astronomical Society fellow from the U.K., recently shared that he may have found the module with a team of fellow amateur astronomers.

Howes and company began their search effort in 2011, well aware of the improbability that they would find Snoopy. This year, though, the team’s efforts seemingly paid off when Howes shared that he was “98 percent convinced” that they’d located the module, Sky News reported.

“It was a serendipitous set of observations and a message indicating that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had done what we are doing and got a result that placed the object right where Snoopy should have been in 1969 [that] led us to believe we had Snoopy,” Howes tells Popular Mechanics. But “we can’t conclusively prove it’s Snoopy until a spacecraft visits it in heliocentric orbit,” he says.

Calling the Apollo program “the greatest technical achievement in human history,” Howes has suggested that someone like Elon Musk, who has the ability to retrieve Snoopy with a SpaceX shuttle, do just that. Get to it, Elon.