“If we get rid of the moon, women, those menstrual cycles are governed by the moon, will not get PMS. They will stop bitching and whining.” -Joe Scarborough, misattributing a quote to Arnold Schwarzenegger that was actually spoken by an impersonator

Our Moon is pretty unusual as far as the Solar System goes: of all the planets, our Moon has the largest mass and radius ratios when compared to its parent planet. It’s enough to not only illuminate our night sky quite fiercely — the full Moon is 14,000 times brighter than the next brightest object in the night sky — but it has some significant gravitational effects on our world.

Gorey Harbour at low tide, illustrating the extreme difference between high and low tide found in bays, inlets and other shallow, coastal regions here on Earth. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user FoxyOrange.

Gorey Harbour at low tide, illustrating the extreme difference between high and low tide found in bays, inlets and other shallow, coastal regions here on Earth. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user FoxyOrange.

You might think this is restricted to the tides, but that’s not the full story. The day lengthens, our axial tilt is stabilized, and even without a Moon, we’d still have tides after all! Yet destroying the Moon, even in our imaginations, gives us a way to help envision all the things it actually brings to Earth, for better and for worse.

The Moon exerts a tidal force on the Earth, which not only causes our tides, but causes braking of the Earth's rotation, and a subsequent lengthening of the day. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Wikiklaas and E. Siegel.

The Moon exerts a tidal force on the Earth, which not only causes our tides, but causes braking of the Earth’s rotation, and a subsequent lengthening of the day. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Wikiklaas and E. Siegel.

Come learn all seven ways our Earth would change if our Moon were destroyed. Did you know all seven?

Comments

  1. #1 Nerd
    March 2, 2017

    Hmmm…. what could possibly destroy our moon?

  2. #2 Anonymous Coward
    March 2, 2017

    Has someone been reading Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves?

  3. #3 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    March 2, 2017

    @Nerd #1: Chairface Chippendale, perhaps (but only partially).

  4. #4 Wow
    March 2, 2017

    Nah, CC never took a bite out of the moon as a snack…

  5. #5 TheoZ
    SF Bay Area
    March 11, 2017

    Since there would still be (smaller) tides caused by the sun, I think there should also be some residual friction that keeps slowing Earth’s rotation.

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