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Humans will miss it.


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#1    Sun Raven

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 08:28 PM

What will happen if the moon finally escapes Earths orbit? I heard somewhere that the earth will lose its slight tilt and antartica will become a desert and the sahara will become an iceland, it will rotate in many ways destroying normal climates. Is this true?  dontgetit.gif

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#2    MID

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 10:24 PM

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What will happen if the moon finally escapes Earths orbit? I heard somewhere that the earth will lose its slight tilt and antartica will become a desert and the sahara will become an iceland, it will rotate in many ways destroying normal climates. Is this true?  dontgetit.gif


This is a somewhat confusing question, as the Moon is in its own orbit about the Earth.  I think you mean to ask what would happen is the Moon escaped its orbit around the Earth.

Such a thing doesn't simply happen, of course.  Quite frankly, a cataclysmic collision with a significant body would be necessary to provide enough impulse to cause the Moon to leave the system...more than likely, an alteration in its orbit would occur.  But we're talking about a Moon-size (or a significant fraction of Moon-size) body colliding with Moon in order for such a cataclysm to occur.

The odds are so astronomical (no pun intended!) against this that it's almost silly to speculate about it.

Nonetheless, it's interesting as an exercise to contemplate the effects of what would happen if the Moon wasn't around anymore.

It is difficult to say what would happen to the Earth's tilt.  That would depend upon the nature of the event, and the interaction that would take place between the Earth's gravity and the Moon's during their separation.    It could be that little happens to the present tilt of the Earth, or it could be that the tilt, and its continual wobbling (it does change in direction and degree over periods of time measured in tens of millenia) is modified, or even radically changed.

Any significant change in the mechanics of the Earth's tilt would definitely alter the seasons, as the Earth's tilt is responsible for the seasons as we know them on the planet.  

It's also possible that the Earth's orbit about the sun could be altered in ways ranging from mild to profound.  This too could cause complete disruption in climate, all the way up to the elimination of life on the planet, again...depending on the nature of the actual event.


Without much more specifics concerning the nature of the event, and its proposed effects on the Moon, it is not possible to say with any certainty what the extent of climate changes would be.  It can only be stated that the absence of the Moon would cause some changes, many likely of a radical nature in the climatic and geophysical systems of our planet.

It's not an attractive idea to contemplate!


Fortunately, there is no reason to get too excited about the Moon leaving its orbit around the Earth original.gif


#3    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 10:47 PM

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Fortunately, there is no reason to get too excited about the Moon leaving its orbit around the Earth original.gif


Indeed.

The moon is slowly gettind further awaf from the earth as a result of tidal interactions, however it will take such a long time form the moon to escape that the earth will have been fried to a crisp by the sun going red giant first.

I think it likely that the collision MID suggests could remove the moon from orbit is far more likely to destroy it, forming a rather spectacular ring around the earth. This ring is likely to be short lived. Evidence from the Voyager and Cassini observations of Saturn's moons suggest that if a natural satellite is destroyed in such away it is likely to reform as gravity will cause the fragments to coalesce into a new body.

Should the moon disapear the earths tides will be hugely effected. With only the sun causing tides the difference between high and low tide will be much smaller. Also there will be no spring and neap tides. What effect this will have on marine life and coastlines I have no idea but I suspect it will be major.

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