Constantly without fail, the most conspicuous celestial night sky object has diligently illuminated the dark night skies for ages. It has been on duty for nearly 4.5 billion years! Scientists’ postulate that the moon came about as a result of the collision between the Earth surface and a foreign stellar object. The resulting collision debris coalesced to form the moon. Technically speaking, the moon is the Earth’s progeny if the Theia Impact Hypothesis that postulates the moon’s formation is to be taken as the gospel truth.
As you read this, the distance between the moon and the earth is approximated to be 238,000 miles. A gap that has been widening since its inception at a rate of 3.8 cm annually. This simply means that the future generations (billions of years to come) are glaring at a possibility of an absent lunar. What would that mean to the Earth? How would Earth get along without its moon?
Shorter Work Hours
According to Touma and Wisdom, in the absence of the moon, the gravitational force that is exerted on the Earth, your typical 24 hour day period will be translated to five hours only! The moon acts as a speed bump on the earth’s rotation rate. Consequently slowing the rate of rotation of the Earth around the sun. A phenomenon termed as tidal braking by scientists. To date, the moon continues playing this role by reducing earth’s rotation speed by 0.002 seconds for every 100 years.
Earth without its moon = A Wobbling Universe
The earth’s axis tilt of 23.5 degrees is maintained by the lunar gravitational force on the Earth. Eliminating this force from the solar system equation will result in an unbalanced Earth with far reaching consequences on the Earth’s stable climatic and season patterns. The vacuum created by the absent gravitational pull by the moon will result in the neighboring plants to exert forces that will prove weaker and inconsistent than the lunar gravitational pull. In brief, the obliqueness of the earth will be unpredictable and unstable to support a wide range of biota.
A Breach on the Earth’s Armor
The moon stands guard in the path of flying meteorites and comets whose impact on the surface of the earth might trigger a period of animal extinctions. Cases of a meteorite breaching the safety net drag offered by the moon, as well as planets (Jupiter and Saturn), have been recorded in geological history. Making the end of the cretaceous period, about 65 million years ago, triggered a mass extinction. The impact coincided with the end of the dinosaur’s dynasty on earth.
Oceanic Tidal Alteration
The gravitational forces exerted by both the moon and the sun act in synergy with the earth’s centrifugal forces to create the tides that you observe in the deep seas. However, the moon’s force is twice greater than the sun’s force. Scientist attributes this to the large lunar mass and the relatively close proximity of the Earth to the moon. It, therefore, goes without saying that in the absence of the moon, the oceans will be calmer than what you are accustomed to presently.
On the face value of it, a calm sea might not cause jitters down your spine. However, nutrient cycle and other sea life creatures’ sustainability depend on the tidal waves.
Realignment of Evolution Process
A change in the ecosystem climatic and seasonal patterns coupled with tidal changes is likely to trigger an evolution process. With the Earth wobbling, temperatures will fluctuate to the extreme ends. Wind speeds of up to 100 miles per hour will definitely spell doom for organisms that will be slow to readjust and adapt.
Some animal reproduction cycles are hinged on the tidal waves. A case in point is the marine turtle. It prefers to lay its eggs during the spring tides. This increases the eggs hatchability rate and hence ensures a continuation of its lineage.
Other than the aforementioned farfetched facts that would likely result when forces conspire to wipe out the moon, you will experience unprecedented darker nights and lunar eclipses will be a thing of the past.
So if you too scared of the sequel of a globe without the moon, take solace in that the drifting of the moon from the Earth is a process and not an event of which you can never live to witness. Problem solved!