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On Friday, an object “about the size of a small boulder” crashed into the surface of the moon. When the meteoroid hit the Mare Imbrium surface of the moon, it exploded into an image 10X brighter than anything NASA scientist have calculated since they first began keeping an eye on the moon in terms of meteor impacts eight years ago. That’s pretty impressive, considering more than 300 meteoroids have run into the moon since monitoring began in 2005.
NASA put together a pretty sweet video discussing the event, which explains in more detail exactly what happened and why the super bright impact is such a big deal. In fact, according to the video, if you happened to be staring at the moon at the time of impact, you would have been able to see the meteroid hitting the moon without a telescope. The meteroid hit the moon while traveling 56,000 mph, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get a good idea of how vast and impressive the explosion was.
Ron Suggs, who works as an analyst at the Marshall Space Flight Center, noticed the impact on May 17. Luckily, this means that there is recorded imagery of the explosion. Unluckily, the close-up artist renderings of the explosion are far cooler than the actual slow motion footage of the event, which shows what looks like a teeny tiny impact on the big moon. Clearly, we know the explosion was of great magnitude, but we weren’t close enough to catch a movie-style still of the event.
NASA scientists hope to use the data to measure impact rates and give future moonwalkers an “idea of what to expect.”