A meteorite the size of a small boulder recently struck the moon with such force the impact was visible down here on Earth—to the naked eye. That means had you or I been looking up at the moon at the precise moment of impact, we’d have seen a small bright flash. Luckily a telescope caught the action on video.
Following the incident, which occurred on the moon’s Mare Imbrium crater, NASA predicted the force behind the collision was equivalent to five tons of TNT exploding. The meteorite itself weighed around 100 pounds and was less than 1.5 feet in diameter. That’s not very big at all, but when you account for the fact that it was traveling at 56,000 miles per hour, it becomes clear how such force occurred.
NASA said that around the same time our moon was struck, meteors were detected entering Earth’s atmosphere. Thankfully, when meteors do head for our big blue planet, they often burn up in Earth’s atmosphere—but sometimes space rocks do break through and cause all kinds of havoc.