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The love story that began million years ago seems to be perishing slowly – heartbreaking isn’t it. Yes, I am talking about the moon. We may not be alive to see that (or maybe we will be on Mars 😉 ) but how do you feel about that, happy or sad – I have mixed feelings.
Moon is the one celestial object that sticks with Earth always – even during the day. Is it just a round shaped, white colored object that shows up every night (almost) or does it have a different purpose? To start with, it helped our ancestors guide in so many ways by using its phases, gave light during the night when there was no electricity and so many other things. Question is, what would Earth have become if there was no Moon.
Of Course, it would be dark during the night.
Neil Armstrong would have led a normal life.
Myths around moon would never have existed.
Least of all, there wouldn’t be any romantic songs about the moon.
But those aren’t big impacts and that is definitely not the reason I am writing this. My thought was, like I already said, what would Earth be without the moon. Every story has an origin, let’s begin with that.
There are various theories around how the moon was born and I am going to list three out of which one is the closest possibility that scientist agree with.
This theory that is less likely possible, explains that moon formed like any other planet in our solar system.
After the big bang when certain material was put together to form Earth due to gravitation, the same way is how the moon was formed, with the same exact materials.
This theory has been disposed or disapproved because the composition found on Earth is not the same as the one on the moon. Although they have the same material, they do not possess the same properties like, gravitational force, oxygen, inner core or an atmosphere at all for that matter.
We all know what Earth’s gravity could do; the theory is that our home planet pulled a passing rocky body into its orbit – the same thing that happened with the other moons of the solar system.
Okay, why was this theory disposed? The appearance of other planet’s moons were not exactly in proper shape which evidences that they were drawn into planet’s orbit forming elsewhere. However, our very own Earth’s moon is perfectly round in shape thus proving this theory false.
Giant Impact Hypothesis:
This is the one theory that is supported by the scientific community. This states that a Mars sized protoplanet and Earth came into collision leaving debris which formed the moon.
This was endorsed by the scientific community because the surface of the moon was proved to be molten once, it’s relatively small iron core and has a lower density than Earth.
We all know that the sea level rise and fall with respect to land and this phenomena is known as Tides. Tides occur when gravity of the Sun and the Moon does a dance with the Earth. As Earth spin on it’s axis ocean’s water is kept stable by Earth’s gravity pulling inward and centrifugal force pushing outward. But, Moon’s gravity is strong enough to disrupt this stability thus causing water to “bulge”. This bulge moves with the Earth as it rotates along with Moon in its orbit.
Earth’s tidal effect by the Moon is necessary to understand of what comes now.
Life on Earth:
As most of us are aware, Life on Earth emerged over 3.8 billion years ago. But before this period whilst Earth was cooling down from the big bang it already had an ocean but remained barren. No life; and, Moon was twice closer to the Earth and looked 10 to 20 times bigger than it is now.
Scientists think that life may have originated first in the oceans which had the perfect temperatures and abundant water as a solvent for life’s chemical to mix.
Where does Moon come into aid in life formation here? It seems, as Moon was once closer, its high gravity-pull set the tectonics plates in motion. Without those tectonic plates our planet would have been hot and toasty like Venus – dead. Thanks to the moon, we have life on Earth or so the science says.
Now here is the answer to my very first question – What would Earth become if there was no Moon or when Moon leaves the Earth:
Moon is spinning away from the Earth 3.78cm per year at the same speed our fingernails grow. Without the Moon, the Earth becomes unstable causing it to slow down. Don’t worry, it would take another billions of years for this to happen – although Earth’s spin has already started to slow down, mathematically.
Earth’s tidal bulge seems to have been a head of Moon due to Earth’s rotation, sending energy towards the Moon, pushing into a higher orbit – out of its usual track. Without the Moon and its gravity will leave the Earth unstable, slowing it down and to wobble. This might cause Earth to spin faster which means short days, darker nights, higher tides in the ocean, Earth’s tilted axis would vary over the time, also a significant change in the seasons – climatic changes, leaving the life on Earth in question.
Anyways, we do not have to worry at the moment; when these changes happen we probably would have evolved in technology to save us or transport to another planet or even galaxies like taking a plane to a country. Until then, let’s preserve our lovely home – be a part in preventing global warming as an individual.
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Source: space.com, Wiki, Scientific American, Phys.org, BBC.