NASA has been observing the moon for “lunar meteor showers” — some causing explosions on impact — for eight years. Now, the agency is announcing seeing the largest explosion in all this program’s history.
“It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we’ve ever seen before,” said Bill Cooke with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office of the explosion that took place March 17, according to NASA’s website.
The explosion was so large, in fact, that it could have been seen from Earth with the naked eye.
NASA scientists speculate the meteoroid weighed 40 kg (about 88 pounds) and was less than 0.5 meters (about 1.6 feet) wide. But moving at 56,000 miles per hour, they compare its resulting explosion to the detonation of five tons of TNT.
Here’s a look at video showing just the explosion:
“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,” Cooke said. “Meanwhile, our analysis of the March 17event continues.”
Here’s NASA’s full ScienceCast on the event:
- There’s a Guy Who Claims to Own the Moon…And He’s Already Sold Plots to Celebrities and Ex-Presidents
- Here’s the Last Video From the GRAIL Spacecraft Before They Crashed Into the Moon
- NASA’s ‘Evolution of the Moon’ Reveals Its Battered History in Less Than 3 Minutes
(H/T: Business Insider). Featured image via Shutterstock.com.