Tech UPTechnologyThis would be the Earth if the Moon disappeared

This would be the Earth if the Moon disappeared

 

Although the Moon moves away from us at a rate of about 1.5 inches each year and was almost 16 times closer to Earth when it formed than it is today, we are used to seeing it every night in the sky (in all its phases throughout the month), like that wonderful star that we have visited from time to time in the past and that we plan to set foot on again in the not too distant future.

 

But what if it disappeared?

The field of science fiction has been concerned with testing what would be the consequences of multiple scenarios regarding our natural satellite: that it is an alien megastructure (as in Moonfall of 2022), that it is inhabited (as in Trip to the Moon of 1902), even by a strange old man (as in The Big Surprise of 1964) and many other plots.

But in reality, much more would happen. For starters, remember that the full moon is, on average, about 14,000 times brighter than Venus . Imagine what nights without a full moon would be like. They would be tremendously dark nights. Perhaps if we did not have so much light pollution in the world we could say that it would be an ideal approach to contemplate the stars every night thanks to such dark skies. It would be like there was a new moon every day. Darker still, because although it is always dark at night, it is the reflected light of the Moon that gives us an appearance of illumination: you would not be able to see the hand right in front of your face.

It would probably be a heaven for astronomers . Without a moon, we would be able to see much fainter and more distant objects in space all year round, without having to wait for the correct phase to observe them.

 

Tides

However… this is the more simplistic side of that moonless reality. Let’s remember the moon has a great influence on the tides of the Earth . The moon pulls on the Earth and slows down the Earth’s rotation. The moon’s pull creates a bulge near Earth’s equator, which means there is a lower level of water at the poles. Without our satellite, high and low tides would be reduced by approximately 75% , something that would endanger the lives of many types of species such as mussels, crabs and sea snails that live in tidal zones and would also alter the diets of larger animals that depend on them for food. Many ecosystems would be in check. And our tides would be tiny, almost non-existent. The only pull they would feel would be due to the Sun, which is inconsequential.

Destruction of the Moon

If it ended up destroyed it would be a catastrophe; would result in roughly 7 x 10^22 kilograms of debris , which hopefully wouldn’t hit the Earth in large chunks. It would change our world forever. Debris would be scattered in all directions. If the explosion were weak enough, the debris would re-form one or more new moons; or perhaps none; it could even generate a ring system around the Earth.

 

shorter days

Precisely because of what we have mentioned before, without the moon, a day on earth would only last from six to twelve hours (we would have years of more than 1,000 days). This is because the rotation of the Earth slows down over time thanks to the gravitational force, or pull of the moon, and without it, the days would pass in the blink of an eye. Without the Moon, we could have huge climate changes on Earth over billions of years, with different areas getting extraordinarily hot and then being plunged into long ice ages. We would hardly see any seasons. It would also be windier. Without the moon, we would see an increase in wind speed; they could become much faster and stronger without it.

 

goodbye to eclipses

Since the Moon did not exist, we would no longer have eclipses of any kind. Neither solar nor lunar. Eclipses require three objects to be aligned: the Sun, a planet, and a planet’s moon. Without a moon, none of this could happen. It would be the end of eclipses for our planet.

 

We wouldn’t be here (speculative theory)

Did the tides enable the emergence of life ? Without the Moon, we might not be here. About 4 billion years ago, when life began, the Moon was probably half as far from Earth as it is now, large tides came and went every few hours, and these tides may have provided the spark needed to turn the primordial soup, a collection of simple chemical precursors, into complex life. Thus, according to Richard Lathe ‘s tidal theory of life, these churning tides created the conditions under which double-stranded DNA molecules replicated with each tidal cycle and thereby the first forms of life arose.

 

Referencia: What if the Earth had no Moon? Michael Richmond July 15, 2005 Rochester Institute of Technology

What would happen if we did not have a Moon? Ask An Astronomers – Cornell University

Richard Lathe,Fast tidal cycling and the origin of life, Icarus, Volume 168, Issue 1, 2004, Pages 18-22, ISSN 0019-1035, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2003.10.018.

 

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