AN out-of-control Elon Musk rocket is set to smash into the moon — raising fears it will disfigure its familiar face.
The Falcon 9 probe entered a “chaotic orbit” after controllers failed to bring it back.
It is now tumbling through space at 6,000mph on a direct collision course with the moon. It is set to strike at 12.15pm on March 4.
Experts say the school bus-sized piece of space junk could cause a massive shockwave, defacing the Man in the Moon crater pattern which has stared down at Earth for billions of years.
Dr Franck Marchis, senior astronomer at America’s SETI Institute, said people would see the impact as a “sudden burst” in the sky.
He added: “It would be terribly sad if this impact altered the famous ‘face’ which has stared down at this planet forever.”
It took the DSCOVR climate observatory into orbit a million miles from Earth. It was then meant to fly back and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Ancient Romans believed the face in the moon was that of a man banished for stealing a sheep.
Medieval Christians claimed it was Cain exiled there for murdering brother Abel. Jews believed it was the image of Jacob.
David Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University, pointed out Falcon 9 was not sterile.
He said: “What we should worry about is contaminating the moon with living microbes.
“It would not be right to put another ecosystem at risk by introducing organisms from Earth.”