Scientists have captured footage of a meteorite slamming into the moon's surface during a lunar eclipse for the first time.
There are a number of movies that revolve around what would happen to Earth and its people if the planet were to suffer an apocalyptical event. Many of those movies have chosen to focus in on the asteroid/meteorite route. The armageddon-like event that helped bring about an end to dinosaurs.
Thankfully, the Earth being hit with an asteroid large enough to wipe out the human race is not very likely. Scientists estimate that a meteorite big enough to cause global catastrophe comes around once every few hundred thousand years. However, smaller space rocks are flying around us all the time. In fact, scientists have revealed footage of one colliding with the moon. It took place during a lunar eclipse earlier this year.
It's the first time a meteorite colliding with the moon during a lunar eclipse has ever been recorded. If you recall watching said eclipse (it took place on January 21) but didn't see the collision don't worry, you're not going crazy. As you can see from the video above, the flash was tiny and if you blinked, you will have missed it. It lasted just 0.28 seconds. That's because the meteorite was a small one, somewhere between one and two feet across.
However, it was traveling at around 38,000 mph, fast enough to create a crater with a diameter of 10 to 15 meters. Rogue space rocks are actually the reason behind most of the moon's many craters. They tend to collide with the moon a lot more than they do the Earth due to the natural satellite not having as thick an atmosphere for the rocks to burn up in upon entry.
Perhaps the most interesting, or most terrifying depending on how you approach it, fact about this discovery is the heat. The debris that flew into the air, and thus caused the flash, upon collision with the moon will have reached temperatures of 9750 degrees. That's roughly as hot as the surface of the sun. The good news is that studying flashes such as these helps scientists learn about future collisions. Handy, as Space.com points out that humans could return to the moon within the next five years.