What If the Moon Fell to Earth?


What if the Moon suddenly
began getting closer to Earth? To the point where it was on a
collision course with our planet? This is WHAT IF, and here’s what would happen if the Moon fell to Earth. The Moon is Earth’s only natural satellite, and the largest object to brighten our night sky. It’s the first and only place beyond
Earth where humans have set foot. The Moon’s gravitational
pull causes tides on Earth. Tides that might have been the encouragement
for life in our oceans to move on land. This pull also keeps Earth
from wobbling on its axis, making our climate relatively stable. In short, the Moon makes
Earth a more livable place. So… What if it suddenly sped up, and
started driving in Earth’s direction? The Moon’s plan to destroy
Earth by bumping into it would break into pieces the
moment it reaches the Roche limit. The Moon itself would shatter,
never making it to Earth’s surface. And that’s going to look very impressive! But wait, what is this Roche limit? In celestial mechanics, it is the point at which the
gravity holding a satellite together is weaker than the tidal
forces trying to pull it apart. In other words, the Moon can only get as close as
18,470 km (11,470 miles) away from our planet, before – BOOM! The tidal forces would tear it apart. All the footprints and flags
we’ve left on the Moon, all of its craters and valleys would scatter to form a breathtaking ring of
debris above Earth’s equator. Making Earth the second planet
in the solar system, after Saturn, to have this striking ring of beauty. The difference being that
our rings wouldn’t last long. The chunks of our former satellite,
the Moon, would rain down on Earth. It would be as if hundreds of thousands
of asteroids were falling down on us and wiping out entire cities in the process. Once the Moon began its
trajectory towards the planet, it would increase the tidal impact it has on us. By the time it hit the Roche limit, it would be causing tides as high
as 7,600 meters (30,000 feet). Our world would be devastated by
an army of tsunamis – ten times a day. But for a short time, hardcore surfers
would enjoy riding some tasty waves. On the other hand, this might
become a solution to global warming. With the Moon coming closer,
Earth’s rotation would speed up. Our days would become shorter and shorter. Global temperatures would go down, and no one would worry
about climate change anymore. Unless asteroids burned the Earth to a crisp. Then there would be no one
to worry about anything. I really wouldn’t worry about it anyway. In fact, the Moon is drifting away from
us at the rate of 4 cm (1.5 inches) per year. So it’s very unlikely we’ll get to see those
pretty, Saturn-like rings here on Earth.

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