Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered, “What would happen if the moon crashed into the Earth?” I know I’ve had this fun yet terrifying thought at one time or another.
While this scenario seems like something out of a science fiction film, it’s a question that has long intrigued scientists and space enthusiasts.
Does it intrigue you as well? Let’s dive right in!
Accidents of the past
The Earth and the Moon have come close to colliding a few times.
Sure, it wasn’t a direct collision, but in terms of cosmology?
The Earth and the Moon danced closer than you think – believe it or not, I do!
Myths and legends
Ancient civilisations told stories of lunar gods and cataclysms.
The moon’s influence on tides, fertility, and even human behaviour has been the stuff of myth for thousands of years.
Did you know there are rabbits on the moon?
Effects of cataclysms
Imagine the enormous force of an object the size of the moon crashing into the earth!
The instantaneous impact would cause a cataclysmic event that would wipe out entire cities and change the landscape forever.
We would all be scattered into dust in an instantaneous massive explosion, how interesting!
Shockwaves and earthquakes
The vibrations from this collision would be incomparable to any earthquake we’ve ever experienced.
Tsunamis will crisscross the oceans and volcanic eruptions will fill the skies with ash.
If there is a hell, would this be it?
Tsunamis and floods
As mentioned earlier, the oceans will react violently.
Massive tsunamis will engulf coastal cities, causing destruction on an unprecedented scale – the film Armageddon doesn’t even make the cut!
Impact on the atmosphere
The rubbish thrown into the atmosphere will cause temperatures to drop significantly, a ‘nuclear winter’ scenario.
This could last for years, affecting all forms of life. Are we heading for another ice age?
New orbital patterns
Without the stable presence of the moon, Earth’s orbit around the sun could change dramatically, affecting the seasons and climate. And our lives and seasons, too.
Changes in gravity
Remember the tides? Tides are affected by the moon’s gravitational pull. No moon?
Our oceans would move in unpredictable ways – think of the film Interstellar!
Many species will not survive in a post-collision world.
Food chains will collapse and ecosystems will be in chaos. And those ecosystems will be 180% different than they are now!
If Earth’s atmosphere is damaged, harmful radiation could cause mutations, leading to a very different kind of evolution.
If you’ve seen the film X-Men, you’ve probably dreamed of having superpowers, right?
Rebuilding and recovery
In the bleak environment left behind after a collision, humanity will have to start from scratch.
Our resilience will be put to an unprecedented test – won’t we be on Mars before then? Cheers, Elon Musk!
A transformed Earth
After a lunar impact, Earth will be a completely different world: new landforms, altered climate, and even new forms of life may emerge.
An age of aliens?
A collision between the Moon and Earth is a scenario we hope never happens – the consequences would be unimaginable.
But by imagining such an event, we can gain perspective on our place in the universe and the delicate, intricate balance that keeps our planet safe.
Frequently asked questions
Can the moon actually hit the Earth?
No, with its current trajectory and gravity, this scenario is highly unlikely.
How does the Moon currently affect the Earth?
The Moon stabilises Earth’s wobble, affects tides, and even influences some biological rhythms.
What other celestial bodies pose a threat to Earth?
Asteroids and comets are potential threats, but serious impacts are rare.
Would humans survive an asteroid or comet impact?
It’s hard to say definitively, but the immediate and long-term effects would pose a major challenge to human survival.
Is there any way to prevent such a catastrophe?
For now, our best defence is to monitor the universe and understand potential threats. In the future, technology will be able to provide more proactive solutions.