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An Explosion on the Moon

Explosion on Moon
The red dot marks the location of the Nov. 7, 2005, meteoroid impact.

Credit: NASA/MSFC/Bill Cooke
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December 23, 2005: NASA scientists have observed an explosion on the moon. The blast, equal in energy to about 70 kg of TNT, occurred near the edge of Mare Imbrium (the Sea of Rains) on Nov. 7, 2005, when a 12-centimeter-wide meteoroid slammed into the ground traveling 27 km/s.

"What a surprise," says Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) researcher Rob Suggs, who recorded the impact's flash. He and colleague Wes Swift were testing a new telescope and video camera they assembled to monitor the moon for meteor strikes. On their first night out, "we caught one," says Suggs.

The object that hit the moon was "probably a Taurid," says MSFC meteor expert  

Bill Cooke. In other words, it was part of the same meteor shower that peppered Earth with fireballs in late October and early November 2005.

More: NASA -So you thought nothing ever happens on the moon?