Here’s a look back at the biggest space explosions and crashes in this year’s collection of cosmic events.
While it may seem impossible to fully learn everything in space due to the vastness of the universe, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
We can now discover much more of the universe than we ever thought possible, all thanks to the rapid growth of technology over the past century. To celebrate the discoveries and events we’ve seen in space, here are our top five personal picks from this year’s space explosions and crashes, in no particular order.
NASA’s asteroid crash
According to NASA’s results, their asteroid-moving experiment was a huge success this year. The project, known as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, was humanity’s first attempt to intentionally push a celestial body.
The mission was an experiment to see how humanity could change the orbit of a dangerous asteroid, should there ever be a crash track with our planet. However, the rocky target, Dimorphos, poses no threat to Earth.
The collision created a tail tens of thousands of kilometers long, which launched about 2 million tons of rock into space. Fortunately, the experiment proved successful as the impact significantly shortened Dimorphos’ orbit around its parent asteroid, Didymos.
A giant supernova explosion
Another cosmic event this year was NASA’s discovery of a supernova explosion.
In May, the Hubble Space Telescope discovered evidence that a star can survive the supernova explosion of its companion star it once orbited. This is due to the recent cosmic event called “supernova 2013ge”, where a stellar explosion displaced but spared its closest partner.
However, astronomers have used the Hubble to search for hints and test theories to explain these stripped supernovae, as the reason for the hydrogen loss still remains a mystery.
A neutron star collision
On April 25, 2019, the LIGO Virgo Network reports that their Livingston Observatory detected what appeared to be gravitational waves from the collision of two neutron stars.
The European Virgo detector and the National Science Foundation-funded Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). A recent study confirmed that this event was probably caused by the merger of two neutron stars. This kind of event has only been detected twice before in gravitational waves.
Read also: NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captures a strange astronomical explosion around a young star
A rocket to the moon
The space event is what the title implies. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter found an interesting rocket accident on the far side of the moon in early March. What makes the impact interesting, however, is the creation of a double crater, which NASA hadn’t counted on.
NASA released images in June of the violent hit, which left a double crater, a 19.5-meter crater overlapping with a 17.5-meter crater from the explosion.
Interestingly, astronomers theorize that a misplaced rocket booster had collided with the moon, marking the first documented case of space debris accidentally hitting our natural satellite.
Mars Impact Creates New Crater
This year, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has orbited the red desert planet for 15 years, captured an incredible image of the surface of Mars: a brand new crater more than 150 meters wide and about 22 meters deep.
NASA’s geological detective InSight lander first picked up the Martian earthquake in late 2021. The 2022 scan then showed significant underground resources on Mars as evidence that the planet is far from dead.
Related articles: NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captures a bright star hours after its supernova explosion
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