Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Mysterious Moon is Vital to Earth (2) by Louis Evan Palmer

The realization of the Moon's enormous effect on Earth, to the point where it can rightly be considered a two-body system, is followed by amazement at the web of enigma that surrounds its origins and makeup.

The space missions that went to the Moon brought back rocks and dust to analyse. In addition, unmanned landings analysed rocks and dust in situ. The Moon rocks were more than a billion years older than Earth rocks. The Moon dust which should have come from the rocks and thus been younger were, in fact, a billion years older than the Moon rocks.

These findings discredited the theory that the Moon came from the Earth - say, ripped out through an impact. It also made the theory where the Moon and the Earth formed from the same cosmic dust less likely. This left the theory that the Moon was captured by the Earth. However, this runs into difficulties given the large relative size of the Moon, about 1/4 the diameter of the Earth, and its uniquely circular orbit around the Earth. Apparently, it would have been quite difficult for the Earth to have captured the Moon in that way. Coincidently, the Moon is almost exactly the right size and distance from the Earth to allow for eclipses.

The most intriguing assertions regarding the moon deal with its origins and the myths of a time when there was no moon. Ancient Greeks state that the inhabitants of Arcadia recall a time when there was no moon as do the natives of the Bogota highlands. Is it possible that the moon was captured relatively recently?

The Mysterious Moon is Vital to Earth (2), Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2009 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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