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Moonfall: could the Moon collide with the Earth? this says science

In the science fiction movie “Moonfall”, starring Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Charlie Plummer and Donald Sutherland, and directed by one of the most aficionado directors of doomsday movies ( Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow ), Roland Emmerich, a mysterious force knocks the Moon out of its orbit around Earth and sends it on a direct collision course with our planet. Something that seems to happen in a few weeks . But could this really happen?

First we would have to ask ourselves: How did the Moon get out of its orbit? What does this mean for Earth? Could you stand up?

First of all, NASA has taken advantage of the premiere of the film to calm down certain spirits and ensure that our satellite is in a stable orbit and that it will not collide with our planet. But, although it is unlikely – or even impossible, according to some – what if it did? “Save the moon, save the Earth”, says the slogan of the film.

Let us remember that the Moon, which was formed about 4.5 billion years ago almost at the same time as the Earth and is a solid and rocky body surrounded by a very thin layer of gases, is moving away from the Earth without any kind of extraterrestrial intervention; At approximately the rate of 1.5 inches per year , and in a very long time, about 50 billion years from now, the Earth and Moon will be tidally locked to each other, meaning they will always be on the same sides of Earth and Moon. Moon facing each other.

The opposite problem to the current one: the Moon does not move away, it approaches

To explain this scenario, disaster geophysicist Mika McKinnon, a physicist at the University of California in Santa Barbara (USA), who has also provided scientific advice on this film, explained that for the development of this science film fiction the theoretical models have been inverted, in such a way that, as the Moon gets closer to the Earth, that is, when it enters an elliptical orbit that will get smaller and smaller before the final dramatic impact, the gravitational attraction Lunar over our planet would increase, leading to massive flooding (for example, if the Moon were half as far away as it is now, the tides would be up to eight times stronger than they are right now.

Scientists on “Moonfall” included actual models of what happens when the Moon approaches the planet and how close it might get before reaching the Roche limit, the point where gravitational and tidal stresses on the Moon would tear it apart, becoming into a vast ring system, not unlike Saturn’s rings, after its estimated mass of more than 81 million tons was pulverized. And Earth would be at the mercy of a non-stop shower of moon rocks hitting the surface.

The Moon’s orbit would get faster and faster as our satellite got closer to Earth, because the angular momentum (or angular momentum) would change. And it is that science fiction is often based on scientific principles that are purely theoretical, but even when creating artistic licenses like this, we can have a good story with scenes that would seem implausible in reality.

But, since we are talking about a fictional story, the most important thing of all is that we enjoy the film. The Moon isn’t going anywhere for a long time.


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