March 2, 2014 | David F. Coppedge

Record Impact on Moon Ups Cratering Rate Estimates

The brilliant flash lasted 8 seconds on 9/11 – 2013, that is – the brightest impact ever witnessed on the moon.

Live Science and Science Daily show pictures of the flash that occurred on 9/11/13 in Mare Nubium.  This one was larger than the 3/17/13 event.  A bigger impact, though, may be philosophical:

Observing impacts on the Moon gives astronomers an insight into the risk of similar (but larger) objects hitting Earth. One of the conclusions of the Spanish team is that these one metre sized objects may strike our planet about ten times as often as scientist previously thought. Fortunately, Earth’s atmosphere shields us from rocks as small as the one that hit Mare Nubium, but they can lead to spectacular ‘fireball’ meteors.

This means that planetary scientists were off by an order of magnitude in their estimates of cratering rates from objects this size.  Observers should consider that we only know half the story – the objects that hit the near side of the moon.

The crater-count dating technique suffered a catastrophic collapse in the last decade, from which it may never recover (5/22/12).  This new impact just adds to the damage; the new estimate is 10 times higher.  It doesn’t take billions of years, or even millions, to fill a planet or moon with craters.  One big impact can launch a million secondaries.  Without knowing all the parameters, it’s impossible to date a surface by crater counts.

The other major impact of this story is a reminder that Earth is a privileged planet, protected from many objects that would lead to catastrophic loss of life if they were not burned up in the atmosphere.  For those inclined to trust God, we need not worry; He promised Noah that “while the Earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).  That uniformity not only allows us to live our lives without fear of another global flood, but also allows us to do science.  It would be a mistake, though, to extrapolate the current uniformity recklessly into the past.

Speaking of Noah, the big-ticket movie Noah starring Russell Crowe (Gladiator) is launching March 28.  We already know Hollywood botches the story somewhat in this flick “inspired” by the Noah story, but Jerry Johnson at Christianity Today found five good things to say about it (movie trailer at end of article).  Ray Comfort, though, concerned about the “artistic license” in Paramount’s portrayal, is trying to beat Crowe to the punch by releasing his own Noah documentary, WND reports, in order to direct attention to the Biblical account and its meaning for prophecy (see  The buzz has it the Son of God movie that was just released is pretty good.  Jesus, incidentally, treated the Noah story as historical fact (Matthew 24:37-39).  The Son of God is our ark of safety for the coming destruction, which may involve catastrophic impacts (Revelation 8).


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