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 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?


Assigned 71 times


COMMENTS (90)
  • 20psomerville
    5/20/2015 - 10:08 a.m.

    I f a large asteroid hit the moon I think it would just destroy the whole moon. After that we would be in pitch black darkness forever. So then there would me craziness for the rest of our lives. That is what I think would happen if a asteroid hit the moon. -Paul Somerville

  • elizabethg-Goo
    5/20/2015 - 10:13 a.m.

    The question posed by the headline more sci-fi than hard science. The text states,"As far as we know, no asteroids even close to the size of the moon exist nearby." The text also states," So it is highly unlikely that any of this would ever happen."The evidence from the text clarifies that the question posed by the headline more sci-fi than hard science.

  • dawsonc-Goo
    5/20/2015 - 10:24 a.m.

    The question is more sci-fi than hard science because it is very unlikely for it to happen. In the text, it says an asteroid the size and mass of the moon itself would probably just destroy it. The text also states that, no asteroids even close to the size of the moon exist nearby. In conclusion, it is highly unlikely that any of this would ever happen.

  • caitlinl-Goo
    5/20/2015 - 10:26 a.m.

    This question posed by the headline as more sci-fi than hard science. The text states, "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." The text also states, "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." The evidence from the text explains the reasons of the question of the posed headline as more sci-fi than hard science.

  • keighanat-Goo
    5/20/2015 - 10:46 a.m.

    The question is why is the question posed by the headline more sci-fi than hard science? The text states that, "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." Nobody thinks this will happen, and if it does the Box will be making a lot of money. The text also states that, "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.

  • 12Tyler-May
    5/20/2015 - 10:52 a.m.

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

    A: The Headline question is more sci-fi than science because no asteroids or meteors come close to the moon's supply, let alone being able to destruct it.

  • 16Colin-May
    5/20/2015 - 10:53 a.m.

    I totally forgot that the moon controls the tides isn't a little weird that it seems like the moon has like water powers to control water.

  • 09Garrett-May
    5/20/2015 - 10:54 a.m.

    The moon would shatter sending huge asteroids toward earth. The world would end.

  • 14EmmaL-May
    5/20/2015 - 10:55 a.m.

    WOW! I'm so glad we have a atmosphere. Or else I would lose EVERYTHING!!!! this was a very cool article and I will read more like this one! :)

  • jesusbustos-Goo
    5/20/2015 - 10:57 a.m.

    The question is more sci-fi than hard science because it is very unlikely for it to happen. In the text, "It says an asteroid the size and mass of the moon itself would probably just destroy it." The text also states, that no asteroids even close to the size of the moon exist nearby. The evidence from the text explains why the question is more sci-fi than hard science.

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