A four-decade-long mystery was finally solved after the Apollo 16 mission to the moon. Based on high resolution images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Apollo 16's rocket booster, Stage 3 Saturn V, was finally located.

Jeff Plescia, a planetary scientist from John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, found that the rocket booster crashed on the moon, with the intention of measuring seismic activity within the moon.

"I did finally find the Apollo 16 SIVB crater. It looks like the others, but its position was much more poorly defined since the tracking was lost prior to impact," Plescia said. The impact he was pertaining to is the seismic test NASA engineers conducted decades back.

The test involved crashing the booster into the moon after the astronauts left the moon's surface in 1972. The booster was unsuccessful in following the established route and the location of its crash site was a mystery for so long, until now.

Apollo 16 was the fifth mission to land men on the moon and return them to Earth, which carried astronauts John Young, Thomas Mattingly II, and Charles Duke Jr. It was also the second flight of the Lunar Roving Vehicle.

NASA has made groundbreaking discoveries decades after its initial involvement in space studies. In fact, the space organization found out that Earth's gravitational pull has effects on the moon's surface and are suspected to cause moonquakes. However, a seismic sensor network should be established on the moon first to test this theory.

Meanwhile, researchers are locating Russia's Luna 9 moon probe through NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The probe landed on the moon in 1966 and was the first to take images of the lunar surface back to Earth.

"Essentially, what I am doing is to grid up the images that cover the area and go through cell by cell looking to see if I can find something," Plescia said.

"Given that they had a more or less powered descent, I am hoping there would be an albedo mark [a disturbance in the surface] similar to that at other landing sites and that would make it easier to spot," Plescia added.

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