What would happen if a big asteroid hit the moon?
What would happen if a big asteroid hit the moon? (Smithsonian.com / ThinkStock)
What would happen if a big asteroid hit the moon?
Lexile: 1150L

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

Thousands of meteorites have impacted the moon over the last few billion years and without an atmosphere like we have here on Earth to break up and burn these hurtling objects, the 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?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/what-would-happen-if-big-asteroid-hit-moon/

Assigned 15 times

  • jaacklahaye52
    5/21/2015 - 01:15 p.m.

    Wow! It takes at least an asteroid of the same size and mass to destroy the moon. Well, have you ever wondered what size of asteroid would be need to wipe out all life on Earth? An asteroid about 1 mile in diameter would do the job. It would damage cities about 1,000 miles away from impact. If it landed in water it would cause a massive waves and destroy coastal cities. If hit land it will cause lots of dust and dirt and block out the sun killing all life. Just like the end of dinosaurs

  • ShaniaWentz-Ste
    5/21/2015 - 09:23 p.m.

    I have never really been into the whole sci-fi science stuff. I have been interested in the nature and animals part rather than astrology. But it does fascinate me hearing about the moon and meteorites.

  • jeremyw-Goo
    5/22/2015 - 09:06 a.m.

    Many consider what would happen if a big asteroid hit the moon. The text states that this question is more sci-fi than hard science. The text also states that as far as we know, there are no asteroids even close to the size of the moon exist nearby. The evidence from the text suggests that this happening is highly unlikely.

  • franklynm-Koc
    5/23/2015 - 03:15 p.m.

    Critical Thinking - This is more sci-fi because the reality of an asteroid hitting the moon and destroying it is very slim. This is only a situation you can give educated guess too. the odds of it are not likely. The only thing you can do is piece what science give you to estimate what type of outcome would happen. We may actually never know until the day actually comes.

  • jorgeh-Koc
    5/25/2015 - 12:03 p.m.

    I think if a huge asteroid destroyed the moon we'd be dead. The falling pieces of the moon wood hit earth. Not only that but our tides would go out of control causing hurricanes and other dangerous occurances. A movie about it would be pretty cool actually.

  • cristinal-Koc
    5/25/2015 - 02:45 p.m.

    I couldn't imagine a big asteroid coming towards the earth. I've seen a bunch of TV shows and movies having that occur but I never thought it was real. I'm glad to hear that it's not possible since that would be very scary if it could actually happen. I also think its true that and asteroid the size of the moon wouldn't even be located anywhere near the earth for that to even happen. An asteroid hitting earth is just a problem that I'm glad we don't have to worry about.

  • thanhn-Koc
    5/25/2015 - 11:00 p.m.

    It would be cool yet terrible if a moon sized asteroid hit the moon. Everyone would freak out and there would probably be a Baltimore type situation except it would be global. Hooray to chaos!

  • antonios-Koc
    5/26/2015 - 02:30 a.m.

    A thought like this is kind of scary if you think about it. The moon actually is very useful to us so to have it hit by an asteroid of its size it wouldn't be the best thing for the Earth. Now that this idea is out there, there will probably be a movie coming out with this theory. Meaning another stupid space movie by Hollywood that we all know are terrible. Regardless lets hope an asteroid doesn't hit the moon in the near future nor never in that case.

  • corbini-Koc
    5/26/2015 - 11:45 a.m.

    That makes me feel a lot better knowing that it is super unlikely to happen. I am curious what it would do to the tide. How much would change ?

  • Ashleypatt
    5/27/2015 - 01:59 p.m.

    Im not all in to the high tech stuff about the moon and the world. But it is really cool how some of these can really happen in the world. I would love to read more about this high tech stuff so i know what things are and im able to talk about it.

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