back to article Massive EXPLOSION visible to naked eye SEEN ON MOON

Sensational news today from the Moon, as skywatchers say a huge explosion - as bright as a star, and visible from Earth with the naked eye - has been seen on the lunar surface. "It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we've ever seen before," splutters Bill Cooke, a top NASA boffin. According to NASA, …


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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

    "Yes, Manny. We can throw rocks."

    1. Steve Todd
      Thumb Up

      Re: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

      Have an upvote for the RAH reference

    2. John G Imrie

      Re: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

      I was thinking more along the lines of 'A Fall of Moon Dust'

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

      Mmmmmm NASA maffs and sients.

      "NASA calculations indicate that a meteoroid probably around 0.4 metres across and massing 40kg-odd barrelled into the lunar regolith going at around 56 thousand mph."

      Yes sirrreeee - that was a Oh - dot - oh - four all rightey.... same as a 50 cal, only rounder.

      56 thousand miles per hour? x 1.6 = ~90,000Kmh or 24Km a second....

      Damn was that hard? No not really. I am not from NASA.

      My main 2c worth is that if the average speed of meteors are coming in at about 5 Km a second, and this one is about 5 x as fast....

      What are we going to do with the ones that come in at us at that speed... or fastera?

      And the biggerestust ones too....

      Ommmmmm ohh ahhh....

      As the bomb said to the crew, "I think. Therefore I am. Let there be light."

      This is the image I came across ages ago... but that one had the caption, "Houston? What the fu......?"

      1. vonRat

        Re: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

        Sgt Pinback: "Alright bomb, prepare to receive new orders."

        Bomb 20: "You are false data"

        Sgt Pinback: "Hmmmm?"

        Bomb 20: "Therefore I shall ignore you."

        Sgt Pinback: "Hello bomb?"

        Bomb 20: "False data can act only as a distraction, therefore I shall refuse to perceive you."

        Sgt Pinback: "Hey, bomb!"

        Bomb 20: "The only thing that exists is myself."

        Sgt Pinback: "Snap out of it, bomb."

        Bomb 20: "In the beginning, there was darkness and the darkness was without form, and void.

        Sgt Pinback: "What the hell are you talking about?"

        Bomb 20: "And in addition to the darkness there was also me, and I moved upon the face of the darkness, and I saw that I was alone."

        Sgt Pinback: "Hey....bomb?"

        Bomb 20: "Let there be light"

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

        I recommend that we surround the entire planet with several miles of protective gas which will convert the meteor's energy into heat and dissipate it safely.

        We should also arrange that large areas of land in big countries along an east-west axis are mostly uninhabited or filled with people we don't really care about.

  2. Thesheep

    NASA computers...

    ...still seem to be using a terrible greenscreen UI, with an annoying typewriter animation. Perhaps they could use some of their budget to buy something a bit less 1980s?

    1. Dave 62

      Re: NASA computers...

      what budget?

      oh the meagre budget that pales next to defence spending which they use to PUT ROBOTS ON ANOTHER PLANET? I have an idea, they could have custom made NASA staplers and other random pointless shit not necessary for being fucking awesome.

      Although it could be that green screen and type-writer animation has been so engrained in the public conciousness as the look of spaaaace that they now perpetuate that because it simply looks right to them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NASA computers...

      Appears they blew the budget on Windows XP.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: NASA computers... space station uses Linux

          So what? Dimwits also install Linux, as evidenced by you.

          1. wowfood

            Re: NASA computers... space station uses Linux

            More dimwits install windows. This is FACT

            Fact based on the fact that 1 in 10 are dimwits.

            Windows 7 has sold over 600 million licenses (allegedly)

            Vs around 60 million linux insallations (based on the linux calculator)

            If we infer that 1 in 10 people are dimwits, that means 60 million dimwits have installed windows, vs the 6mil who have insalled linux. Or if we warp figures. The number of dimwits who have installed windows is greater than the number of people, dimwit or not, who have installed linux.

            Ergo, based entirely on fact, more dimwits install windows than linux.

            Eadon can thank me later :P

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: NASA computers... space station uses Linux @wowfood 09:53

              Eadon is unlikely to thank you, I'm afraid. You've considered the possibility that someone who installs Linux might be a dimwit. I think Eadon would have it that anyone who installs Linux is smart by implication. Probably because he claims he uses it himself. Of course, as pointed out by someone else, there is one glaring (in both senses,) dimwit who's apparently using Linux :)

        2. Bernard M. Orwell

          Re: NASA computers... space station uses Linux

          It's also a bit, not a fact at all (capital letters notwithstanding). NASA use a range of OS's depending on the required function. WinXP PCs on the ground, OSX on telemetry equipment, MacOS on *most* of the laptops in use (all of those in space are MacOS) and Ubuntu on on-board PCs. There are more OSX machines in use by NASA than any other OS.

          A simple google search revealed this information fairly readily.

          1. t.est

            Re: NASA computers... space station uses Linux

            Probably because they used NeXT Step and Open Step before that, that is before Linux even where around to play golf.

        3. t.est
          Paris Hilton

          Re: NASA computers... space station uses Linux

          yeah, while that light emitting fruit shines up the background... just an empirical fact...

        4. Simon Harris

          Re: NASA computers... space station uses Linux

          "Linux laptops etc are on the Space Station."

          Given the low gravity environment, it'll be one of the light-weight distros.

    3. illiad

      Re: NASA computers...

      maybe, but no crashes or reboots needed for decades.... :) :)

    4. VinceH

      Re: NASA computers...

      "Perhaps they could use some of their budget to buy something a bit less 1980s?"

      Listening to the voice-over on the video, I think they blew their budget on trying to synthesise a woman's voice.

    5. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: NASA computers...

      If they still do the job why change? I did a stink at a county council in the 90's (some networking mostly) and their data suite still had reel to reel tape drives (sat by a wolfcreek, I guess for now and then value), kilostreams and various piles of dust with aging servers under them, it looked like it was straight from buck rodgers. They worked so nobody changed them.

      Often because a change of hardware meant new software and most of it was bespoke. I learnt a lot about sane budgeting from the last place I ever expected to find it. It cost considerably less to keep a few coders well versed in cobol etc then it did to build a new system which would in all likeliness overrun, be over budget and break frequently.

      1. frank ly

        Re: NASA computers...

        I now have an image in my mind, of a rampant spaniel doing a stink. It will take time to fade away.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: NASA computers...

          And this is why I hate touchscreen keyboards lol!

    6. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: NASA computers...

      ...and what's with the awful robotic commentary?

  3. Tim99 Silver badge

    Non-American history Lewis?

    [According to NASA, the mighty blast briefly "glowed like a 4th magnitude star ... the explosion packed as much punch as 5 tons of TNT". For comparison that's twice as much explosive as one would find in a US Air Force nuclear-bunker-busting MOP superbomb]

    Or, alternatively, a bit less explosive power than a 1945 British "Grand Slam" bomb (6.5 tons TNT equivalent).

    Cf: The 1944 "Tallboy" bomb - 3.5 tons TNT equivalent; and the 1943 "Upkeep" bouncing bomb - 4.4 tons TNT equivalent. All of which were carried by modified Avro Lancaster bombers. A Grand Slam weighed 10 tons - Normal Lancasters could carry 6-7 tons of bombs. This compares to the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress which could only carry about 2 tons of bombs over a similar range. The later Boeing B-29 Superfortress with a crew of 10 could carry ~9 tons.

    An interesting paper exercise after WWII compared the performance of these heavy bombers with the 2 crew, smaller, wood/composite construction de Havilland Mosquito which could carry nearly 2 tons of bombs at a speed about 1.5 times faster than a Lancaster (The Lancaster had a normal crew of 7).

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Non-American history Lewis?

      I quite like the MOP's ancestor, the "Disney Bomb" ( 4500 lb Concrete Piercing/Rocket Assisted bomb ).

    2. Chris Miller

      As a 20-year -old during WW2, Freeman Dyson worked at Bomber Command performing statistical analysis of the results of bomber raids. He and a colleague recommended removing the gun turrets, which were largely ineffective at shooting down enemy fighters. This would have allowed Lancasters to fly 50 mph faster and reduced casualties simply because there would be fewer crew in each bomber. He commented:

      All our advice to the commander in chief [went] through the chief of our section, who was a career civil servant. His guiding principle was to tell the commander in chief things that the commander in chief liked to hear… To push the idea of ripping out gun turrets, against the official mythology of the gallant gunner defending his crew mates…was not the kind of suggestion the commander in chief liked to hear.

      "The Children's Crusade" in Disturbing the Universe, 1979

      1. graeme leggett

        On the other hand, some of Harris's and his staff's prejudices may have had a grounding in the psychology of the crew and other issues.

        British Commonwealth aircrew trained together en masse and generally formed themselves into cohesive and supportive crews that could work together before becoming operational.

        The tail end Charlie was a useful lookout if not a potent aggressive defence. If they got wind of a fighter, then the pilot could push the bomber into a corkscrew which it could pull better than the German fighter.

        Thirdly some projects were considered more effort than they were worth. A number of British bomber designs which would have been more effective than the Lancaster and Halifax were shelved because they wouldn't be ready before the end of the war. ( Vickers, Bristol and Avro were coming up with designs of around 100 tons all up carrying 25 tons of bombs and with 20mm cannon in turrets for defence).

        according to Buttler "British Secret Projects: Fighters and Bombers 1935-1950"

        1. Darryl
          Paris Hilton

          I'm confused. How did we get the Lancaster to the moon again?

          1. Tim99 Silver badge



            We don't need to get a Lancaster on the moon - As any fule kno - Picture Link

            Although getting the bomb there might be a problem...

            1. Darryl
              Thumb Up

              Re: Lancaster

              How could I have forgotten that?

              Old age sucks

    3. Michael Dunn
      Thumb Up

      Re: Non-American history Lewis? Mosquito

      The very best plane ever made!

  4. Barry Rueger

    Don't look!

    I can't believe that looking at the video actually RUINED the story for me. Talk about a disappointment!

  5. hplasm

    The future, as usual, is disappointing...

    Space1999- 14 years late and woefully underfunded, was a failure.

    1. Kharkov

      Re: The future, as usual, is disappointing...

      Yeah, but aren't those Eagles worth waiting for?

      By the by, Space 1999 was one of those vanishingly rare shows where the vehicles LOOKED right...

      1. Martin Budden
        Thumb Up

        Re: The future, as usual, is disappointing...

        Yes the Eagles looked totally awesome!

        (They didn't quite look "right" though because of the lack of sizeable fuel tanks. But I'm happy to forgive this minor point.)

  6. Gabor Laszlo

    SI nitpick

    What bugged me about the NASA video was: 0.4 METRES across and massing 40KG-odd barrelled into the lunar regolith going at around 56 thousand MPH.

    Notice anything?

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. tomban

      Re: SI nitpick

      The meteoroid should have been measured in linguine?

      1. Death_Ninja

        Re: SI nitpick


        I'm just dissapointed to not see NASA using proper size measurements, I mean, this is 100th of the size of a small family car or maybe the size of a domestic cat and it was travelling 1000 times faster than a chaved up Vauxhall Nova.

        THATS science NASA!

        BTW, I was massively dissapointed with "huge explosion", 5 tons of TNT is pretty small and the video was truly meh

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SI nitpick

          the video was truly meh

          Try zooming in :)

        2. Don Jefe

          Re: SI nitpick

          The explosion was visible ~250,000 miles away with the naked eye. I'm not sure what you consider impressive. Maybe the wackos are correct and video games are altering the perceptions of youth...

          1. Death_Ninja

            Re: SI nitpick



            1. t.est

              Re: SI nitpick

              Nah that's just some small pocket firecrackers.

    3. Rattus Rattus

      Re: SI nitpick

      Yep, that was what first got my attention. NASA should know better than to mix units like that. Even if they couldn't just go all-SI for some reason, then they should at least have stuck to all-Imperial. A mix of Imperial and SI does nobody any favours.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Notice anything?

      Yeah, one of those measurements I have down cold, another one I can reasonably approximate, but I have no frelling clue about the middle one.

  7. Phil W

    Ask John Koenig what happened

    Since this was presumably Moon Base Alpha, we better prepare to be moonless.

  8. Mike Goodwin

    <checks date>

    Hmm. No, not 1st April.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    56000 mph

    That's about M73.

    The good news is something that small hitting Earth's atmosphere would probably have burnt up long before it hit the ground.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: 56000 mph

      And does, regularly.

      The earth is somewhat a larger target than the moon. It gets hit significantly more often...

      Air - it's more important than just breathing...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe, just maybe

    It's Lewis' family coming to take him back to the planet of Wibble, in the solar system of Gibber. Keep the tinfoil hats on just in case.

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Eadon impersonation.

    "Moon Monitor Console" in a crappy MS-DOS terminal window, one of the most amazing catastrophes and nastiest venereal diseases of IT ever!


    In "Contact" Elly had perfectly good 21' CRTs and X-Win applications. And that was 15 years ago.

  12. Jim McCafferty

    Which way do we point the dish?

    NASA in "Whoops, we didn't see that large rock hurtling towards us" isolated incident.

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: Which way do we point the dish?

      An object that size would have either bounced off of our atmosphere or burnt up before it hit anything , resulting in no danger to us earthlings.

  13. Spoonsinger

    Why does Ron Suggs get all the good jobs?

    I mean, you couldn't just have a application looking at the moon for impact detection events and flag it. Nope we need Ron Suggs to sit around looking at the videos. (Just jealous like).

  14. Anonymous Coward

    "Thut thing's operayshunnul!"

  15. Zot

    This data puts an end to any moon base plans.

    The odds are high for it to be blown off the surface at any moment.

    1. Caesarius

      @Zot Re: This data puts an end to any moon base plans.

      The odds of a direct hit are perhaps not very high, and they'd probably build a moon base where very few impacts have happened, etc., but I agree that I would not relish the prospect of steeling my nerve even against a low probability.

      Also, when the narrator said that the middle of March would be a good time to stay inside, I think mention should have been made of the specification of the bunker that can stand a direct hit like this: "inside" doesn't really cover it.

      1. tempemeaty

        Re: @Zot This data puts an end to any moon base plans.

        Actually it's not the direct hit that would scare me but the micro meteors that could puncture the air tight environment of any base there. It could be a very annoying and life threatening issue that is always present.

  16. Stratman

    It was The Clangers

    A pressure cooker accident with a new batch of Blue String Soup.

  17. alain williams Silver badge

    St Paddy's day

    It was a little green man who lost control when returning home after over indulging on the black stuff!

    1. Spoonsinger

      Re: over indulging on the black stuff

      Not even little green men can drink a pint of Bovril. IGMC

  18. AdamSweetman

    OMG that video narrator, just awful

    Tried to watch the video but had to mute it, awful commentary, terrible monotone patronizing school teacher voice, gah.

    1. frank ly

      Re: OMG that video narrator, just awful

      When Armageddon happens, I want her to be the one announcing it. I want to die in my sleep.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: OMG that video narrator, just awful

      "Tried to watch the video but had to mute it, awful commentary, terrible monotone patronizing school teacher voice, gah."

      I agree - but I thought it was a computerised voice....

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: OMG that video narrator, just awful

        I think it was computerised.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last 8 years?

    So no one at NASA ever noticed increased metorite (ide?) activity around March time since the program began in 2005?

    What makes them think it's going to be the same next year?

    Beautiful photos on the video though, makes it worth watching more than the tiny explosion!!

  20. boobie

    Moon Nazis


  21. Marcp

    If Suggs was the first to see it - is that the first sign of Madness??

  22. MacGyver

    What model of potato was that taken with.

    It's a little sad that that is the best video they have of it, I mean really NASA, that is the same quality I would expect from a $99 telescope with a 3 megapixel phone held up to it. If we can spot exo-planets 83 bazillion miles away, then why don't we have a better resolution of something already visible to the naked eye in the night sky?

    1. NukEvil

      Re: What model of potato was that taken with.

      You don't like the quality of the videos? Then lobby your congressman to recommend increasing funding to NASA so they can buy some decent equipment.

    2. cyborg

      Re: What model of potato was that taken with.

      "If we can spot exo-planets 83 bazillion miles away,"

      We're not doing that by just looking at them FFS.

      1. MacGyver

        Re: What model of potato was that taken with.

        I know that, I've seen the incredibly boring printouts that let us infer the existence of one of the exo-planets.

        It wasn't a comment on NASA, but more of a jab, and as the other comment posted, a display of my snarkiness directed at our lack of funding to the sciences in general.

        I firmly believe that our best time as a nation was after Kennedy issued the Moon challenge and every school in the country started pushing science and math education is a way never seen before, but all the changed around Regan's time. Now we have to sue schools just to keep them from trying to force kids to pray, or just to keep Creationism out of science class. Kids don't even do dissections in high school anymore, hell chemistry class nowadays has been relegated to a bottle of diet coke and some Mentos tabs, the Bunsen burners have long ago been removed.

  23. psychonaut

    i cant believe that those huge triangles weren't detected earlier.

  24. Richard Pennington 1

    Suggestion for the next lunar lander: install a seismometer on the Moon, with capability to beam the results back to Earth.

  25. MatsSvensson

    The future is now!

  26. WalterAlter

    File Under Chelyabinsk Snore Paradigm

    Boy, we sure take these earth destroying bits of rock in stride. Like nothing bad will ever happen such as what happened 10k years ago that ended the Younger Dryas warming period, began another mini ice age and, oh, by the way, wiped out nearly all life in North America. Kinda makes global warming look like a Popsicle stick boomerang by comparison. Maybe that's the problem. Yep, that global warming will be the death of us as we refuse to shift our global threat perception of the GW circus and onto something that actually deserves the serious attention of all nations on this planet.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: File Under Chelyabinsk Snore Paradigm

      I fail your fail.

      Younger Dryas was a cold period, not warm. The impact theory is for the start of the period, not the end. The impact would have been 12,800 years ago, not 10,000 years ago. And most people don't even think it was caused by an impact: the current best theory is that the cold period was caused by disruption of the Gulf Stream.

  27. PineyCreek

    Last Starfighter?

    Maybe there's a base on the moon that no one's telling us about....

    "Fire the meteor guns!"

  28. tempemeaty

    Perhaps some folks at NASA had another pint before making that vid too

    Right after the narrator says NASA recorded it on video they show a supposed vid of a impact on the lower right hand side of the moon then later in the vid point out the actual impact was in the upper left hand side. I don't think they showed the actual video of the actual impact but left us to assume they did. I hope some amateur astronomers got a vid of the impact.

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