NASA scientists announced a meteorite made a record lunar impact two months ago. This resulted in a fresh massive crater which added a mark to the man on the moon. The cosmic slam caused a powerful explosion so huge, it could have been visible to someone examining the moon closely at the time.
A bright flash (pointed by arrow) was seen as a result of a meteorite crashing into the moon on March 17, 2013. CREDIT: NASA
NASA announced the impact occurred on March 17, but it was not immediately reported. The crash was first observed by Ron Suggs, an analyst at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Suggs was reviewing some lunar observation footages when he caught the clip of the crash. After some scrutiny, NASA scientists deduced the size of the meteorite to be about 1-foot in width, weighing about 88 lbs. It was about the size of a small boulder. It may be relatively small, but the space rock was traveling at an estimated rate of 56,000 mph. As a result, the meteorite left a 65 feet wide crater mark.
"On March 17, 2013, an object about the size of a small boulder hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium," Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office told the media. "It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we've ever seen before."
Lunar meteor impacts have been under NASA monitoring for eight years now. However, a larger more powerful explosion has not been observed until Suggs did."It jumped right out at me, it was so bright," Suggs said.
The huge blast meant to scientist an opportunity to study the moon and the frequency of its hits relative to its position in space.
"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 explained. "Meanwhile, our analysis of the March 17th event continues."
VIDEO: Massive Blast in the Moon: Record-setting Impact, Watch Stunning Explosion
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