NASA scientists have recorded the biggest ever meteorite impact on the Moon, with an explosion equal to 5 tons of TNT. The event is part of ‘lunar meteor showers’ observed by astronauts of the Moon exploration program.
The 40-kg meteorite measuring 0.3 to 0.4 meters wide traveling 56,000 mph slammed through the Moon’s surface on March 17, 2013.
The explosion from the impact, glowing like a 4th magnitude star, was so bright that it could have been seen from Earth with the naked eye. However the flash of light lasted only for a second and was rather difficult to detect.
Ron Suggs an analyst at the Marshall space flight center was the first to notice the explosion on a digital video recorded by one of the monitoring programs.
“It jumped right out at me. It was so bright” he acknowledged.
In this picture the Moon is seen illuminated solely by light reflected from the Earth.
"On March 17, 2013, an object about the size of a small boulder hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium," says Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.
"It exploded in a flash nearly ten times as bright as anything we’ve ever seen before."
Unlike Earth, the Moon has no atmosphere to protect it. As there is no oxygen, it poses the question of how they explode.
“Lunar meteors don’t require oxygen or combustion to make themselves visible. They hit the ground with so much kinetic energy that even a pebble can make a crater several feet wide. The flash of light comes not from combustion but rather from the thermal glow of molten rock and hot vapors at the impact site,” NASA explains.
As the crater from the impact could be as wide as 20 meters, comparing it to the brightness of the explosion might give certain explanations to scientists about “lunar meteor showers”.
For the past eight years NASA scientists have been observing the Moon as part of a lunar monitoring program to identify new kinds of space debris that can threaten our planet. The US space agency says that this is a ‘good candidate’ for research.
The lunar impact might have been part of a much larger event, Cooke noted. NASA and the University of Western Ontario’s sky cameras detected an unusual number of deep-penetrating meteors on Earth. These speeding fireballs rushed along nearly identical orbits between Earth and the asteroid belt. He notes that the Earth and the Moon were pelted by meteoroids at about the same time and supposes that these two events were connected.
Nelson Mandela Family Finally Gives Up Charade and Admits Mandela Dead 2013 12 12 Funeral was planned a year ago
The Nelson Mandela family has finally given up their charade and admitted that Nelson Mandela is dead by announcing today that the former leader of South Africa is no longer with us.
The charade began in June of 2013, and Guardian Express has maintained Mandela has been deceased since we were informed of his passing in ...
Scientists Identify a Piece of the Planet Mercury for the First Time in Human History 2013 12 12 Talk about a precious stone — the largest piece of the only known meteorite from the planet Mercury has found its way to Yale, where it is now on display at the Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Known as NWA 7325, the fist-size, greenish space rock is a rarity among rarities: there just aren’t many verified planetary meteorites. Scientists know ...
US general who opened Guantanamo prison says shut it down 2013 12 12
The US general who opened the notorious US-run Guantanamo prison says it was a mistake and it should be shut down because the prison complex "validates every negative perception of the United States."
"In retrospect, the entire detention and interrogation strategy was wrong," Marine Major General Michael Lehnert wrote in the Detroit Free Press on Thursday.
Lehnert was the first commander of ...
BioSuit: The Future of Space Gear 2013 12 12 New materials and designs could allow outer-space travelers to move more freely.
One day, moving around in outer space—and walking on Mars—could become a whole lot more comfortable for astronauts, thanks to the innovative techniques being developed by an aeronautics professor at MIT.
“The BioSuit—the one that gets a lot of media coverage—is a concept no one has seen before, and we ...
Cassini spies mysterious object named ’Peggy’ at edge of Saturn’s rings 2013 12 12
Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft has spotted an object located right at the edge of Saturn’s A ring that is confounding scientists. Its name? Peggy.
This strange something was spotted by accident on 15 April when Cassini’s cameras were aimed at a tiny moon named Prometheus that orbits just inside another of Saturn’s rings. A member of the mission’s imaging team, astronomer Carl ...