What would happen if a big asteroid hit the moon? (Smithsonian.com / ThinkStock)
What would happen if a big asteroid hit the moon?
Lexile

You asked us, what would happen if a large asteroid hit the moon.

Thousands of meteorites have impacted the moon. They have crashed over the last few billion years. The moon doesn't have an atmosphere like we have here on Earth. Our atmosphere would break up and burn these hurtling objects. But not on the moon, where these rocks have left their mark.

So what would it take to leave behind more than just a crater?

Well, an asteroid the size and mass of the moon itself would probably just destroy it. Or nudge it out of its current orbit around the Earth. And cause drastic changes to our tides.

But honestly, all this talk is more sci-fi than hard science.

As far as we know, no asteroids even close to the size of the moon exist nearby. So it is highly unlikely that any of this would ever happen.

Which is not to say the story wouldn't make big bucks at the box office.

For more stories like this, check us out every day at smithsonian.com.

Critical thinking challenge: Why is the question posed by the headline more sci-fi than hard science?


Assigned 29 times


COMMENTS (7)
  • John0724-YYCA
    5/20/2015 - 07:16 p.m.

    The moon is really tough for it has been hit by asteroids more than a thousands of times and it still floats in space today without being damaged a lot except the craters because it was formed by asteroids hitting on the moon which I just found out by reading this article. It is a good ting that there is no asteroids the size of the moon because if there was and it hit the earth then it would be just like what happened to the dinosaurs but it happens to us with a bigger asteroids.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    5/20/2015 - 08:51 p.m.

    It will be horrible when big asteroid hit the moon. If it destroy the moon than we will not have night we will only have daylight. We will not get enough sleep and sometimes we will die. Sometimes thousands of people will die because the little piece of moon will come to us and it will be on fire because it is coming fast. So it will burn and crash into us. This might be our future so we have to prepare to cover it.

  • bis23
    5/21/2015 - 09:50 a.m.

    Can a big asteroid hit the moon in the next 2 million years? I don't know,but it's unlikely

  • sean11-Bla
    5/21/2015 - 01:10 p.m.

    Is there a meteorite the size of the moon in our solar system?













    meh.

  • KeaganB-1
    5/21/2015 - 10:23 p.m.

    Thousands of meteors crash into to the moon. The moon does not have an atmosphere. Plant Earth, our planet does have an atmosphere. Our atmosphere breaks up most of the in coming rocks. the moon will not stop the rocks from crashing. The craters are results of the meteors. This article was very interesting and I hope we never get hit my a space rock.

  • John0724-YYCA
    6/19/2015 - 04:24 p.m.

    Well I am just glad that there is no asteroid or meteorite that is the size of the moon because if there is and it comes hurtling to earth we would need a bigger atmosphere because then it would hit the earth and create a mass of destruction which means that thousands of people would get inured or worse dead. Well I would hate to live on the moon because the atmosphere there is so little and if you live on earth there is a bigger one so the asteroids would burn up.

  • CristobalSepulveda
    7/01/2015 - 07:42 p.m.

    Well... we all know what would happen if something bad happens to the moon. In first place, the oceans of our planet would turn totally crazy! Lot of tsunamis everywhere. But actually I don't think that could happen, I mean, the moon is a very big satellite and asteroids are not so big (well it depends too). The point is that in earth we are always prepared for an accident like that. That's what I think and the NASA hide us lot of things too, of course.

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