Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

What would happen to the Earth if an asteroid hit the Moon?

If an asteroid the mass of the on the one that possibly caused the extinction of the dinosaurs struck the moon would the material expelled from the crater possibly reach earth and would it create massive meteorite impacts.

The asteroid which may have wiped out the dinosaurs was probably somewhere between 2 and 10km in size. An asteroid that large striking the Moon would release a large amount of energy and it probably would eject some of the moon rock into space, however I would guess that the bits would be quite small, so if they happened to be going in the right direction to hit the Earth they wouldn't cause too much damage. Around 15 meteorites found on Earth have been identified as originating on the Moon, so it obviously is possible for ejecta from the Moon to reach the Earth, however this is a tiny amount relative to the total number of meteorites found on the Earth.

A nice internet site which discusses meteorites in more detail is the Nine Planets Meteorite page.

October 2000, Karen Masters (more by Karen Masters) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about Comets, Meteors and Asteroids: Previous | Next

More questions about The Moon: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

This page has been accessed 35767 times since May 15, 2002.
Last modified: June 18, 2003 4:51:17 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)