AUG 09, 2017 3:49 PM PDT

What is Earth Without Moon?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The moon is such a familiar fixture in our skies that we often take it for granted. But there's more to the moon than meets the eye. Let's consider what would happen to the Earth if our moon was not there.

For starters, if Earth didn't have a moon, our tides would become tiny - about a third the size that they are now. The moon's gravity is the force behind high tides and neap tides. Without this force, the oceans would be much more still.

And without the force exerted by the moon, there's nothing to slow down Earth's rotation. This would translate into shorter days, which some say would be fixed at 24 hours per day, while other say would decrease to 6 hours per day. In the same vein, Earth's axis would also shift. Without a moon to stabilize the 23.4 degree tilt, Earth could end up changing its tilt by as much as 45 degrees. The effect of this would be a world spinning on its sides - the poles could melt and the equator could freeze.

So next time you look up in the sky, take a moment to appreciate the silver orb and all that it's done for our world!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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