Moon explosion 2013: 56,000 MPH space rock hits moon

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    Moon explosion 2013 caused by 56,000 MPH space rock was biggest ever in the history of moon to have hit it

    For all those who were thinking of moving bag and baggage to moon, considering the earth to be no longer safe, Think again. The planetary body encountered a massive explosion when a meteorite crashed on it leaving a 65 feet wide crater.

    The new hole was created when a boulder slammed into the Moon’s surface in March creating the biggest explosion scientists have seen on the moon since they started monitoring it. A NASA satellite orbiting the moon is now on a hunt for the newly formed crater, which scientists estimate could be as wide as 20 meters.

    The high speed meteorite travelling at 56,000 mph creating a new crater 65 feet wide after it crashed producing a bright flash of light visible to the naked eye from the earth’s surface.

    In a statement released from NASA, Bill Cooke with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama said: “On March 17, 2013, an object about the size of a small boulder hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium. It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we’ve ever seen before.”

    It is pertinent to mention here that the astronomers at NASA have been monitoring the moon for lunar meteor impacts for the past eight years, and haven’t seen anything this powerful before.

    In fact this event too would have been missed had Ron Suggs, an analyst who manages the lunar impact monitoring activity at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama,  not reviewed a video of the bright moon crash that was recorded by one of the moon monitoring program’s 14-inch telescopes.

    Suggs said: “It jumped right out at me, it was so bright. The flash of light was created by the kinetic energy built up by the impact of a rock moving faster than a speeding bullet, and three times as fast as a space craft going into Earth orbit. The kinetic energy has to go somewhere. Some of it comes out as light, some of it went into making a crater, and some of it made a seismic thump on the moon. It also caused a lot of heat.”

    Following the revelation, the scientists after working out the dynamics of the impact concluded that the rock had been roughly 1-foot-wide and weighted about 88 lbs. The explosion it created was as powerful as 5 tons of TNT.

    However, as the studies progressed it was discovered that the moon meteor was not an isolated event and similar meteors were picked up in the following days. Cooke said: “On the night of March 17, NASA and University of Western Ontario all-sky cameras picked up an unusual number of deep-penetrating meteors right here on Earth. These fireballs were travelling along nearly identical orbits between Earth and the asteroid belt. We’ll be keeping an eye out for signs of a repeat performance next year when the Earth-Moon system passes through the same region of space,. Meanwhile, our analysis of the March 17th event continues.”

    Even as the Earth’s atmosphere protects it from being hit by any of the fast travelling meteors, moon has no such protective covering it and its lack of an atmosphere exposes it to all incoming space rocks.

    In February, an asteroid estimated to be about 66ft (20 meters) in diameter exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, damaging buildings and shattering glass, leaving more than 1,500 injured. It was the largest object to strike Earth since 1908. ‘The Russian fireball was many orders of magnitude larger and possessed 100,000 times more energy,’ than the lunar impact, Cooke said.

    The NASA monitoring program has spotted more than 300 meteor strikes that reached its surface since 2005.