Moon blasted by record-breaking asteroid

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Moon impact
That’s one bright explosion!

We humans feel safe inside the Earth’s protective atmosphere, and under the watchful eye of NASA, it’s easy to forget how dangerous space can be. Just ask the Moon! It was blasted by an 880-pound asteroid that left an 8-second-long glow just after the explosion on September 11, 2013. According to researchers, this was most likely the largest lunar impact ever recorded in the Moon’s history, and now a video has been released of the explosive impact.

It’s hard to believe the Earth is threatened by similarly sized space rocks quite frequently, but thankfully, our atmosphere burns them down into much smaller “fireball” meteors. There is no such atmosphere on the Moon, so any asteroids speeding in its direction aren’t hindered whatsoever.

According to researchers, this 880-pound beast was speeding at 37,900 mph before it shot into the Moon like an ultra-fast bullet, creating a 131-foot-wide crater. The force generated was equivalent to about 15 tons of TNT, which is three times bigger than any other impact in the Moon’s long recorded history! The resulting afterglow of a blast typically lasts for a fleeting moment, but this one endured for about 8 seconds. It was so bright, people on Earth could see it with their naked eyes under the right conditions.

Featured image courtesy of NASA. Image of impact brightness courtesy of University of Huelva.