NASA has admitted that one of its spaceships was struck by an unidentified flying object travelling as fast as a speeding bullet.
In October 2014, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was hit by a tiny object – but lived to tell the tale.
The collision caused a strange glitch in the LRO’s cameras, causing it to produce images showing “jagged patterns”.
Alien hunters spend hours poring over the footage produced by the probe’s footage of the lunar surface and even claimed it has recorded evidence of alien bases on the moon.
However, Nasa thinks “a small natural meteorite” was to blame for the collision.
Mark Robinson, a professor at Arizona State University’s school of earth and space exploration, said: “LROC was struck and survived to keep exploring the moon.”
He suggested a tiny meteorite hit the space probe, knocking its cameras so they produced a “wild and jittery” image of the moon’s surface.
“The meteoroid was travelling much faster than a speeding bullet,” Robinson added.
“In this case, LROC did not dodge a speeding bullet, but rather survived a speeding bullet!”
Nasa also revealed why it took so long to release details of the collision.
“Since the impact presented no technical problems for the health and safety of the instrument, the team is only now announcing this event as a fascinating example of how engineering data can be used, in ways not previously anticipated, to understand what is happing to the spacecraft over 236,000 miles from the Earth,” said John Keller, LRO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
This explanation is unlikely to convince excitable UFO spotters who believe there are secret alien bases hidden on the moon.
But most people will probably take Nasa’s explanation at face value.
More from Astronomy
The next gold rush will be intergalactic. In 2009, a collection of astronauts, academics, and aerospace industrialists convened to review NASA’s …
Just beyond Earth’s home in the solar system, about 94 million miles from the Sun, a coal-black asteroid slowly rotates …
STEPHEN Hawking is leading an investigation into whether the first object ever to arrive from OUTSIDE our solar system is …
Amid the high speed cosmic rays raining down on us from the depths of space are a handful of antimatter …