Listen to Article
Given that the moon already has a pockmarked surface, one would think that an additional crater would not really be cause for much excitement - But as it turns out, this latest one is, because according to scientists it is the biggest explosion observed on the lunar surface since 2005 - One so large, that the bright flash of light that resulted from the impact, could have been observed from earth without a telescope, had a stargazer been looking up at that precise moment.
Though the crash occurred on March 17th, it was announced by NASA a week ago on May 17th, most likely because the scientists were trying to investigate the cause of this unprecedented explosion. After a couple of months of observation, the experts believe that the bright flash occurred when a foot-wide, 80lbs meteor came hurtling down and crashed onto the surface of the moon at 56,000 mph (90,000 k/h), creating another 65-foot hole in its already heavily cratered surface.
They also revealed that while this was the only space rock that hit the lunar surface, there were a large number of meteors that zipped through earth's orbit that fateful night. Fortunately, our planet rarely gets hit thanks to the fact that the space rocks disintegrate as they come in contact with the atmosphere.
On May 22nd, the privately funded Slooh Space Camera, whose mission is to promote scientific enlightenment, even zoomed in and broadcast live, the exact spot so that space buffs could see for themselves what the new crater looked like. NASA scientists also expect to zoom in their Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to take some close-up pictures, so stay tuned!