Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Earth Changes: Why the Moon is getting further away from Earth

Prehistoric Earth Changes: The Moon is believed to have formed after a massive collision between the Earth and an asteroid.

The Moon is not only beautiful, it is vital to our ecosystems and wildlife

The speed at which the Moon is moving away from Earth could affect life on the planet, but this could take billions of years to happen, writes space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

It's easy to take the Moon for granted, even on a clear night when it can light up the sky. It really feels as if it has always been there just as it is now, throughout history. But that's not strictly true.

It is thought that the Moon was formed when a proto-planet about the size of Mars collided with the early Earth around 4.5bn years ago. The debris left over from impact coalesced to form the Moon. Computer simulations of such an impact are consistent with the Earth Moon system we see in the 21st Century.

The simulations also imply that at the time of its formation, the Moon sat much closer to the Earth - a mere 14,000 miles (22,530.8 kilometres) away, compared to the quarter of a million miles (402,336 kilometres) between the Earth and the Moon today. Read More