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The moon is far more than just a beautiful object in the night sky.
Ever since its creation 4.5 billion years ago the moon has been edging away from Earth into space. Throughout its journey, it has influenced our planet in different ways. But one things clear, without it life would never have emerged on Earth.
4.5 billion years ago the moon forms when another planet slams into the early Earth. The impact knocks our planet “off-balance” onto an axis of 23 degrees, which we still rotate around today. This is what gives us our seasons. Without it we would have no summers, springs, winters or falls.
4 billion years ago the solar system endures the most violent meteorite bombardment in its history, the Lunar Cataclysm. The Earth, being 50 times bigger than the moon, exerts a massive gravitational pull on incoming space debris. Because the moon is still so close to Earth it too gets hit. 99% of all craters on the lunar surface visible today are a result of this bombardment.
3 billion years ago the Earth has water and oceans. Because the moon is far closer its gravitational pull is far stronger on the Earth. The tides it creates are thousands of feet high and smash hundreds of miles inland every day. Scientists believe that these tides feed the Primordial Soup with the minerals required to start life. Without them only the most basic microbes would be on Earth today.
Today the moon has the same gravitational pull as a mosquito landing on your head, yet some people still believe it can influence our planet in bizarre ways.
The San Francisco Police Department tell us how crime appears to soar during a full moon. But the scientific data suggests otherwise, studies show no correlation between the Full Moon and violence. Naked Science investigates.
Scientific research into the moon is allowing some scientists to predict when natural disasters will strike. Some researchers believe that when the sun and moon align and pull together on the Earth they can trigger both earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
In the future the moon will move so far from Earth that it will affect the fine balance of our planet, sending our climate tumbling out of control.