Without a Moon? Let’s Find out.
Would we die without the moon? Can mankind survive with no moon in the sky? I know we definitely need the Sun, as it makes everything grow, keeps the rain cycles in check, and we orbit around it keeping us rotating through our different seasons.
The Sun is also needed for plants to grow and for people and animals to get nutrients from its rays. We obviously need to have water on our planet, as that is one more part of the circle of life. But we hit the jackpot with a Moon, a Sun, an Earth and a planet covered in water, our greatest resource.
But do we really need the Moon as well? Sure it lights up the night so obviously, we would have pitch black nights aside from human-created structures like light poles and high powered flashlights. But would that be the only real change? There are some countries in the world now that operate during long periods of darkness. They figured it out, so would we right?
What Does the Moon Do for Earth?
So the first question is: Why does the Moon matter? What does it do? Here is a quick list of what the moon is responsible for on Earth. This should help us answer the question.
- Tides. The Moon controls the tides of the oceans. This is because the moon gravitational pull doesn’t affect all parts of the Earth equally. This is because of the Earths axis. The lunar gravity pulls stronger on the parts of Earth that are closer to the moon itself. That tugs the oceans towards the Moon and in turn, produces tides. These tides are worldwide even though the Moon only lifts the ocean by less than one meter. Without the Moon, the Sun would still produce tides, but they would be about 40% smaller. This would be a real problem for the ocean’s ecosystem.
- Eclipses. Without all of the God made space ships: the Sun, Moon, and the Earth, there would be no eclipses of any type. The social eclipses, the partial eclipses, and the hybrid eclipse would never occur on Earth. The Sun is constantly shining on the Earth on one side of it or another, while we rotate. These rays of sunshine come from over a million miles away to reach the Earth. The Moon, however, is only a few hundred thousand miles away from us. Without it, there would be no object to come in between the Earth and the Sun and we would not have eclipses anymore. The closest thing would be when Venus crosses the line of sight, but that wouldn’t compare to the Moon’s eclipse even slightly.
- Dark Nights. Think about being out in the wilderness in the middle of the night. It’s dark and what we would currently consider pitch black. Of course, the beautiful night sky helps to illuminate us. Not just the Moon – but the stars and galaxies lighting up the night sky. However, you still can’t see your hand in front of your face down on Earth. Well, if there was no Moon, then we wouldn’t get night vision that we as humans have adapted too. It’s safe to say that our vision would have evolved over time to be a lot different. We would probably be able to see in pitch black darkness, where you now can’t see anything in front of you.
- Shorter Days. Earth would automatically have much shorter days without the Moon. We estimate these days would only last from 6-8 hours. Can you imagine that. People would be very active during this small time slot but most likely the 18 hours of darkness would make people groggy and less likely to go out and complete tasks or work. That would also put us at 1100-1400 days in one calendar year. Over time the Earths rotation slows down a little bit. It’s not noticeable to us because it is such a small amount. This comes from the tidal friction of the Moon to our oceans. If the Moon revolved around Earth forever, then on a long enough time scale the Earth would stop rotating and just lock itself to the Moon.
- Axial Tilt. The Earth does not spin with the north and south poles directly on the top and bottom of our planet. Instead, the Earth has a slight tilt to it. Think about a spinning top. It first spins up and down perfectly round and round, then over time, it starts to weaken and rotates with a tilt. After it tilts it will start to wobble while it’s still spinning. That’s the same concept as our Earth. The Earth is special though, because unlike the spinning top – we have the gravitational pull of the moon to keep our planet constantly spinning on its tilted axis. Without it though, life on Earth would be affected dramatically. It could cause high rushes of water or ice caps melting or any crazy thing we can imagine mother nature doing because the Earth never settles down and has a consistent spin.
Evolution and the Effects of the Moon:
The Moon has also played a great part in the shaping of the world through the process of evolution. This would be evident everywhere you look if you just think about how that much darkness would have affected every living creature on Earth. I mentioned above that our eyes would have evolved differently if there was no Moon. We would obviously have gotten better at seeing in the dark as time passed. We could have complete night vision now and the Sun would hurt our eyes and force us to stay indoors when it is shining on our side of the planet. Who knows what effects this could have had. This effect would have an evolutionary impact on all creatures on the planet.
For example, there are a lot of creatures that hunt only at night in the wild. These creatures would have either gotten better night vision or they would have had to hunt during the day. Also, the prey they hunt would have evolved differently, possibly leading to a completely different Food Chain Pyramid that you were taught in elementary school. Who knows, maybe lions and tigers would have opted to eat plants. They could be friendly and able to domesticate to live in your house with you.
This would happen over a period of time as they evolved and adapted to their environment. Because if they didn’t adapt, they would surely die without the ability to hunt and kill prey. Then if the night stalkers died, other species would overpopulate possibly using up all their food since they would have too many mouths to feed. How the heck could we have any clue how evolution would have played out without the Moon in the sky?
You can easily see how this would be a huge problem. Think about how differently the ecosystem and animals of the planet would have developed over the entire span of Earth’s history. We may have had a completely different set of creatures to look at and who knows…maybe the Earth would be dominated by peacocks or penguins instead!
But would we die without the moon? Probably not. But, we would live a much different life. That’s for sure. Our bodies may function completely different and our days would be shaped by 18 hours of darkness and 6 hours of light from the all-important Sun. Also, keep in mind that even though things would be much different without the Moon, with just the Sun we could have still produced life on the plant and humans could have existed.
This would lend credibility to the idea of having life on other planets. There are so many planets out there, and if all they need is a Sun – I would guess there is alien lifeform on other planets that we may never even be able to reach.
Summary of Content:
So the answer to the question is: No, we don’t have to have the Moon to survive, but our lives would have all been completely and totally different than we could even begin to imagine. For one man, I sure am glad we have our Moon, and wouldn’t want to try life any other way. Do you think that life would have been harder or easier without the Moon?
Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!