Expert BlogExpert Panel Q&A

If the Chelyabinsk asteroid had hit the moon, what size crater would it have created?

moon-craters-cropped

QUESTION FROM KARIM

If this same [Chelyabinsk] asteroid had hit the moon, what size crater would it have created?


ANSWER BY MARK BOSLOUGH (ADXP)

Great question!

Using our best estimate of the speed and size of the Chelyabinsk asteroid, it would have made a crater on the moon of 300 or 400 hundred meters (about 1000 to 1300 feet) in diameter. If there were moon people with cities like ours, the crater would completely remove 7 to 12 of their city blocks.

The crater size would also depend on whether it hit the moon in a place where the lunar regolith (the dusty soil layer) was thick or thin.  There’s a great online tool by cratering expert Keith Holsapple that you can use to try out different asteroid sizes and speeds for yourself!  See (clickhere to open the link).

Mark Boslough

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Mark Boslough

The author Mark Boslough

Dr. Mark Boslough is the Chair of the Asteroid Day Expert Panel (ADXP). He received his BS in Physics from Colorado State University in 1977 and his PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech 1983. At Sandia Labs, he has worked on many aspects of planetary impact physics, including Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact models, formation of the Libyan Desert of Egypt, the 1908 Tunguska explosion, the 2008 TC3 airburst over Sudan, and impacts on Jupiter in 2010 and 2012.