What if our Moon was obliterated?
One of the most amazing things about our evolutionary history is that all evidence points to the fact that only under the most precise conditions on Earth could tiny molecules have burst forth into life, and we are not just talking about the conditions on our own planet. If there were only the smallest differences to our Moon, our Sun or the surrounding planets, mankind would not be here today.
The Moon provides us with more than just the rhythm of the ocean tides, the moonlit nights and the spectacular solar and lunar eclipses. Without it, life may never have appeared on Earth billions of years ago. In 1993 Jeques Laskar, Director of French National Center for Scientific Research, calculated that if Earth didn’t have a large satellite, the tilt of our axis would become incredibly unstable over time. Our mostly stable tilt of 23.5 degrees gives us the seasons as the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are alternately warmed.
If the Earth’s axis would vary more than a degree, extreme weather would plague the earth and life would struggle to adapt and survive. In fact, the situation may closely resemble that seen in the new science fiction movie, Oblivion, where evil space aliens destroy the Earth’s moon and humanity must battle its way through earthquakes, volcanoes and all kinds of strange weather.
Over four billion years ago, the moon was much closer to Earth and the tides extended several hundred miles inland. As a consequence, coastal areas saw massive cyclical changes in salinity and this may have enabled the formation and evolution of self-replicating molecules.
So next time you look at the Moon, consider the fact that without it, we may not be here at all…