On September 11th of 2013, a meteor struck the moon’s surface and created the brightest lunar explosion ever recorded. Researchers have just released the video; Below is a looping video of the impact as captured by the two telescopes used in the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) in Spain. The impact created a flash nearly as bright as the north star as seen from Earth, briefly disorienting lost hikers everywhere.
(Universidad de Huelva)
Jose Madiedo of La Universidad de Huelva first observed la collisión and says the meteor created a 131 foot wide crater and was traveling at 37,900 mph upon impact. Madiedo and his colleagues estimate that the space rock was just under 900 pounds and anywhere from 2 to 4.5 feet in diameter. The blast released energy equivalent to touching off 15 tons of TNT, making it 3x more powerful than the March 17th, 2013 impact.
Now to what we’re all thinking – what if it was us? Fortunately, even if this chunk of rock had a course set for Earth instead of the moon, our thick atmosphere would have kept us safe. The biggest threat from this scenario would likely be missing the sweet fireball meteors in the sky that it would create. However, since a bulkier meteor could muscle its way through our atmosphere, NASA does have some interesting concepts for asteroid defense of Earth itself including using a nuclear bomb to blow it up and wrangling one into the moon’s orbit where it can sit quietly and think about what it tried to do.
Do you have planet Earth’s next brilliant concept for asteroid defense? Tell us below!