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  • The moon has always been an intimate part of humanity's existence.

  • You can see it from anywhere on earth and the effect that it's had on our planet and culture is beyond significant

  • But hypothetically, what would happen to us if we destroyed the whole thing?

  • In 1958 the Soviet Union was beating America in the race to space.

  • In response the United States developed a plan called Project A119.

  • Which involved detonating a nuclear bomb on the moon's surface.

  • Knowing the explosion would be visible to people worldwide, the US government believes project A119

  • would provide both a morale boost to the American people and a show of force to intimidate the Soviet Union

  • Thankfully the plan was scrapped in favor of landing actual people on the moon

  • But nuclear weapons wouldn't really be enough to destroy the moon anyway.

  • To even come close, we would have to detonate an explosive up to several billion times more powerful than the entire nuclear arsenal of the world.

  • Which means that destroying the moon is currently impossible.

  • But assuming that we developed some amazing

  • destructive technology in the future and annihilate the moon,

  • what would happen to us here on Earth?

  • First, if the moon shattered into tiny little pieces

  • they might eventually coalesce into a brilliant ringed system around our planet

  • Fragments of the moon would frequently rain down onto the Earth's surface like meteorites

  • but not as destructive.

  • While some meteorites hit Earth at speeds of over 100 kilometers per second

  • these lunar fragments would only be traveling at a fraction of that, around 8 kilometers per second

  • so their damage could be pretty bad, but not entirely catastrophic.

  • Without the moon obscuring light from less bright objects,

  • more stars would be visible from Earth's surface and night skies would be significantly brighter

  • which would hopefully be a consolation for not being able to witness a solar eclipse ever again.

  • Of course without the moon, the tidal forces on the world's oceans and lakes would drop dramatically as well

  • Tides wouldn't completely go away because the Sun also exerts a tiny force on them,

  • but they would drop to about 25% of their current levels.

  • Surfing as a sport would be severely less cool and

  • coastal communities would have to adapt to lives with a far smaller tides than usual.

  • However, perhaps the most catastrophic effect that would happen without a moon

  • would be the extreme change in Earth's axial tilt.

  • Earth spins on its axis currently at 23.4 degrees.

  • Over a period of tens of thousands of years however that tilt varies between

  • 22.1 degrees to 24.5 degrees.

  • The moon acts as a stabilizing force on this tilt keeping it between these values

  • But without it this stability would be lost forever.

  • Earth's tilt could exceed 45 degrees at times in this scenario spinning on its side.

  • This would be very weird to get used to over time,

  • because the poles wouldn't necessarily always be cold places

  • and the equator wouldn't necessarily always be a warm place.

  • Imagine the extreme changes that would happen if all the ice in Antarctica

  • melted and exposed a new continent open to human settlement

  • or if the equator began to be a region that got regular snow and ice of their own.

  • Ice ages would hit different parts of the planet at different times every few thousands of years

  • but that's the thing,

  • these changes wouldn't be immediate and you wouldn't notice much of a change in your lifetime

  • But fast-forward maybe 5,000 years into the future and Earth could be totally unrecognizable,

  • which in a geological timeframe is basically instant

  • Sure, moon fragments would probably rain down to our surface and cause some damage

  • and the severe reduction in tides would be weird for some people to get used to,

  • but if the moon were to be destroyed it would not cause an instant apocalypse.

  • The real damage to our planet wouldn't be obvious until far into the future

  • Perhaps the most terrible part about destroying the moon for us in the present,

  • would be robbing us of our stepping-stone out into the rest of the universe.

  • Fate and circumstance gave civilization on Earth an incredible gift in the moon

  • A practice test nearby to home, for space missions and a natural launch pad into the rest of the solar system.

  • Without it, this natural advantage would be permanently lost, but thankfully since we live in reality

  • and we won't actually destroy it we may take advantage of it again soon.

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What If We Destroyed the Moon?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/15
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