Our nearest neighboring body in the cosmos has a profound effect on us.
It’s helped not only shape our evolution, biologically, but has shaped the entire physical evolution of our planet.
So what would be different?
- No eclipses. Not just no lunar eclipses, note, but no solar eclipses.
- Much smaller tides. The sun does contribute to tides on Earth , but the distance, despite its monstrously greater mass, means tides would be about 40% what they are now and would be far less complicated since they would be impacted by only a single body, rather than two has is currently the case.
- Much darker nights. The reflective power of the moon is significant, and something we tend to take for granted.
- Shorter days. As in, about seven hours long, as opposed to the current twenty-four. The moon is the guilty party at slowing down the Earth’s rotation, something that continues today – it’s just a very slow, albeit progressive, process.
- Variable axial tilt. The moon stabilizes the Earth by quite a bit, meaning we have (fairly) regular seasons. Without this, sometimes we’d have no seasons, sometimes extreme seasons. Think A Game of Thrones years-long winters and summers and the like.
Top image via Paul Kinzer of Cambridge University Press.
Bottom diagram via Tim Thompson.