Rogue rocket body imaged weeks before its moon impact (photo)

A Virtual Telescope Project image shows a rogue rocket stage on the road to oblivion, nearly a month before it smashed into the the moon on Friday (March 4).

The image was taken Feb. 8 during the stage’s last close flyby of Earth, when it was visible in the 17-inch (43 centimeters) Planewave telescope stationed near Rome. At the time, Virtual Telescope Project founder Gianluca Masi said in an image caption, the rocket was roughly 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) from Earth.