NASA scientists have spotted an asteroid exploding on the moon’s surface with such force that it could have been seen from Earth without a telescope.
Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office said: “It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we’ve ever seen before.”
NASA began monitoring explosive meteorite impacts on the moon’s surface over 8 years ago, with hundreds of collisions logged by scientists.
The 40kg meteor hit the moon at 56,000 miles per hour. The explosion had the same force as five tonnes of dynamite.
Meteorites can explode despite the lack of atmosphere by hitting the ground with such speed that they turn molten or vapourise. This effect is what was seen by NASA scientists.
The meteorite may have left a crater 20 metres across, or the length of two double-decker buses.