Since school, we have heard stories about the stars and moon. Later, we were also told how astronauts landed on moon, aptly described as ‘a small step for man and giant leap for mankind’. Our association with moon continues with the eclipses and other celestial events involving moon. It makes us wonder what happens if the moon suddenly disappeared one day. Will we notice it and what impact will it have on our planet and its flora and fauna?
Well, moon is not just there for its visual appeal. Although, it does that job quite perfectly. Moon plays a key role on how things work on earth. Moon’s disappearance may not impact other planets and sun. But such an event can have serious consequences for earth. Here are some things that can happen if moon suddenly disappears one day.
Wobbly earth – Without moon, the tilt in earth’s axis may start to change. It is the gravitational pull of moon that helps earth maintain the tilt in its axis. If moon suddenly disappears one day, the earth’s tilt may start to change. This process will be slow and you may not notice it in your lifetime. But eventually, the earth’s changing tilt can have serious consequences. For example, earth may lose its tilt completely. This will mean no more changing seasons in most parts of the world. Or earth could tilt drastically, leading to extreme weather events. Such things can already be noticed on Mars, which does not have a moon.
Tidal disturbance – Both sun and moon dictate ocean tides on planet earth. Moon has a stronger pull, as it is nearer to earth. The tides will lose 2/3rd of their power if moon disappears. This will have a deep impact on oceanic flora and fauna, especially along coastal regions. Tidal waves also play a key role in weather patterns. They allow for warm water currents to flow across the oceans and also dictate precipitation and rainfall.
Confused animals – There are various animals that are active at night time only. These often use the moon’s mild light to move around and find their prey. If moon disappears, it would become very dark in remote areas. This could create significant challenges for specific animals.
Moon museum – It has been hypothesized that earth and moon were formed at approximately the same time. While earth is constantly changing, things on moon have remained static for millions of years. This makes moon quite like a museum, holding vital evidence about earth’s origins and major celestial events. Dust and rock samples collected from moon have helped researchers understand the history of earth and solar system.
Loss of launchpad – When we start landing on other planets, moon could become an important pitstop for supplies, fuel, etc. If moon disappears, we may have to launch direct missions to other planets and beyond.
Last but not least, moon works to protect earth from asteroids and comets. The surface of moon is littered with impacts from celestial objects. If moon was not there, some of these might have landed on earth. Next time you look at moon, we hope you treat it with a little more respect. While sun’s role is paramount, life will be difficult to sustain on earth if moon disappears.