As the satellite of our world, the moon illuminates us every night. Have you ever wondered what might happen when the Moon, which is no longer so far away with today’s technology, comes closer to Earth than it is? Here is the answer to the question…
Worst-case scenarios if the moon gets too close
Neil Comins, a physicist at the University of Maine, says there would be massive floods and tsunamis if the Moon suddenly came much closer to Earth. The most well-known effect of the Moon on our world is its gravitational force on the oceans. This results in two high tides and two low tides each day. This is a natural process.
If the Moon were half its current distance from Earth, the tides would be eight times higher than they are now, and some large islands would be completely submerged as a result. Coastal areas with large populations would likely be uninhabitable due to high tides.
However, if the Moon were suddenly twice as close to Earth as it is now, the effect would be something like hitting a gong with a hammer. Let’s explain it like this: The energy waves that formed with the sudden increase of the gravitational effect of the Moon would resonate throughout our world.
“This sudden gravitational pulse will actually affect the earth’s crust, which means it could trigger more earthquakes, more volcanic eruptions,” says Jazmin Scarlett, a historical and social volcanologist at Queen Mary University of London.
Even worse, we can say that it slows down the rotation speed of our world. Let’s explain;
It could bend the Earth’s crust and slow the Earth’s rotation
Scarlett cites Jupiter’s moon Io, the most volcanically active planet in the Solar System, as an example. Io’s volcanic mechanism results from the push and pull created by the gravity of Jupiter and its two other moons. If the Moon had suddenly come within half its current distance, Earth would have suffered a similar fate.
With the sudden bending of the planet’s crust (this bending is caused by the gravitational effect of the Moon), serious slowdowns occur in the speed of Earth’s rotation over time. This is because friction between the ocean floor and the water slows the Earth’s rotation, as the Moon’s gravity pulls the oceans toward it.
The Earth’s rotation rate slows down by a thousandth of a second every century. If the Moon were half as close as it is now, the Earth’s rotation would be slower, making our days and nights longer.
If you were lucky, if you could survive these sudden earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, longer days and nights, and higher tides, you could at least see more frequent solar eclipses. Since the Moon would cover a larger area of our sky, it would be even more likely to pass in front of the Sun. We could even see the Sun’s corona (outer atmosphere) glowing around the dark silhouette of the Moon, albeit not clearly, if we’d survived.
So is this possible?
For this to happen, a large asteroid must pass near Earth at exactly the right time and place to push the Moon toward us. Of course, even if that were the case, it would take many years for it to approach half the current distance, and its effects on Earth would not be immediately felt.