The Moon. It’s hard to imagine our lives without it. Since antient times it puzzled the brightest minds. It has always been a huge part of our everyday lives more than we can imagine. But have you ever wondered why is it out there? Why does our planet need it?
What do you know about the Moon? As for me, I didn’t think about it a lot until recently I found out that my name actually translates as “the moonlight”. This discovery provoked some interest in me and I decided to learn a bit more about our eternal companion.
The Moon is an astronomical body which rotates around our planet. If you look at the surface of it, you’ll see that it is quite uneven. And that’s because it’s been protecting us from space rocks as much as it can. It is the Earth’s only natural satellite. But recently scientist started to suggest that it hasn’t always been so. They say that at some point there were two moons. The other one was tiny compared to it’s sibling. Eventually those moons grew into one another. It explains why the surface on the far side of the Moon (the one, that we never see from the Earth) is so much thicker and smoother.
The Moon’s gravitational force is strong enough to mess with our oceans. That is why it is responsible for one of the most constant and reliable phenomena in the world — tides. It can drag the water like a giant magnet and create long waves. Our satellite has a company in this function — the Sun. But because it is much more further away, the tides wouldn’t be as powerful without the Moon. Since life began in the water, without those strong tides it would’t spread as fast.
That gravitational force also prevents our planet from wobbling too much, and it might be one of those factors that let life flourish on the Earth.
One of the most useful things the Moon gives us is the light. Again, it’s not very bright in comparison to our nearest star, but distance makes all the difference. Now, with electricity everywhere we don’t have many problems at nights. But imagine how our predecessors used to get on. I think it’s safe to say that without the monlight, homo sapiens would progress a bit slower during crucial periods of evolution.
Did you know that the Moon is also the largest known satellite in relation to the planet it orbits (nearly a quater of the Earth’s size). This fact might also play a role in forming life on our planet.
As you can see, the Moon doesn’t just hang around in the sky doing nothing. There are many aspects in our lives that wouldn’t be possible without our satellite (eclipses, 24-hour days, traditional seasons of the year and etc.) In short, it plays an immense role in our existence. And she hasn’t even revealed all of her secrets to us yet. Scientists still argue about the origin of the Moon. Quite a few theories were suggested but none of them make perfect sense.
The fact is that the Moon is gradually moving away from us (because of the same gravitational force that creates tides) at the rate of about 4 cm a year. Of course, it would take billions of years to make a significant difference for the life on Earth. But, still, don’t take things for granted. The Moon didn’t just give us interesting legends, calendars and mythical gods.