100 explosions on the Moon


21/05/2008

Not so long ago, anyone who claims that he saw a flash of light on the Moon, professional astronomers would have looked with great suspicion. Reporting outbreaks of the moon at all considered as something unreal, like a crazy game of sick imagination.

However, no one would dare to call a man who had seen the flash, crazy lunatic. More than two and a half years, scientists from NASA watching flares on the surface of the moon. And these outbreaks are counted not one, nor two, but for as much as one hundred.

According to Bill Cook (Bill Cooke), the head of the department for the study of meteorites situation at Marshall Space Flight Center (Meteoroid Environment Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, MSFC), the explosions on the surface of the Moon is nothing more than crashing into it at high speed meteorites. Typical force of the explosion is approximately equivalent to the explosion of several hundred of TNT, and it’s easy to take a picture with a small telescope type BackYard.

As proof, Cook has provided video fragment, which has the explosion near the crater Gauss (Gauss) January 4, 2008 goda.Smotrite: gif animation (870 KB), avi video clip (5.9 MB). In this case, the attacker acted as a tiny fragment of the defunct comet 2003 EH1. Every year in early January, the Earth-Moon passes through the flow remains of the comet, which manifests itself known meteor shower Quadrantids (Quadrantid). Here on Earth, space rocks disintegrate into beautiful outbreaks during entry into the atmosphere. At the same moon atmosphereless they crash into the surface and explode.

The question is: How can something explode on the Moon? After all, there is no oxygen!

In fact, such explosions do not require oxygen for combustion. Meteoroids fall on the surface at a rate of more than 13 kilometers per second, which means that they have incredible kinetic energy. At that speed, even a small stone can create a crater several meters in diameter. Hitting the surface instantly melts rock, soil heating them to a temperature of molten lava - hence the flash.

During passage through the dense streams of cometary remains (Quadrantids, Perseids, etc.) flashes observed with a frequency of up to 1 per hour. But even away from the comet fragments are constantly attacking the moon celestial bodies, which are the natural "junk" scattered throughout the inner solar system.

Data on the space "bombarded" the Moon is very important for mankind. Especially in light of promising plans to develop its infrastructure in the satellite of the Earth. The Moon is full, protected from impact of meteoroids, it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Of course, the chances of a direct hit by an asteroid in the astronaut’s very small. But if a man on the moon will start to build large buildings, which occupy a large area, there will be much more likely that the house will fall into a space asteroid, which could result in serious loss of life and destruction.

Of even greater concern are the effects of explosions. When a meteoroid body crashed into the Moon, debris flying in all directions. The only meteorite creates a lot of fine particles flying at a speed of a bullet. Although a direct hit of a meteorite may occur very rarely, one of these small particles (less than a millimeter in diameter) can easily penetrate a space suit.

Original: Science.nasa.gov


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