Massive Meteoroid Impact on Moon shines like Small Star (NASA Video)

That boulder-sized meteoroid that hit the moon on the 17th, causing a star-bright conflagration? NASA reports that it likely was part of a whole pack of meteoroids, a smaller set of which hit the earth’s atmosphere around the same time.

Meteoroids are space rocks up to 10 yards / meter wide. From 10 meters wide and up, they are called asteroids. The one that crashed into Mare Bellum was .4 meters wide, and so just a meteoroid. The Chelyabinsk asteroid was 15 meters wide, big enough to cause an explosion ten times more powerful than the one caused by the small atomic bomb at Hiroshima in WW II.

NASA reports:

Asteroid impacts on earth are relatively rare, but the damage a big one could do is one reason would should revive our space mission.

Luckily for those of us who support NASA, the Chinese are planning a moon base, and that will be taken much more seriously inside the tribal beltway than mere rational risk calculations.

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3 Responses

  1. The asteroid that struck the Moon as depicted in the video had an explosive force of 5 kilotons – almost one-third of the power of the Hiroshima bomb.

    This explosion has questioned the wisdom of having astronauts inhabit a base on the Moon.

    • It’s a big place, Mark. Highly unlikely that a base would be hit that way. But, space is dangerous.

  2. The video says 5 tons (not kilotons) TNT equivalent. Objects falling onto the Moon from space are comparable to their weight in chemical explosive. So 5 TNT-tons is plausible for a boulder-sized thing.

    By the way, once upon a time, NASA was making such bangs itself. The Ranger missions were designed to crash on the Moon, but just before that they sent back the first close-up pictures of the lunar surface.

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