What if the Moon, Earth’s only natural satellite, suddenly began getting closer to the Earth to a point where it was on a collision course with our planet? Would our planet survive the collision or would it even happen? Would the Moon get shredded into pieces by the Earth’s gravity? What would a torn up Moon look like from Earth?
The Moon is Earth’s only natural satellite and the largest object to brighten up our night sky. It’s the first and only place apart from Earth, where human beings have set their foot. The Moon’s gravitational pull causes tidal waves on Earth. Tides which might have been the reason behind the encouragement for lives in our oceans to move on land. This pull also keeps Earth from jiggling away on its axis, making our climate stable and habitable.
In short, the Moon makes the Earth a more livable place. But what if it suddenly sped up and started driving in Earth’s direction?
The Moon’s plan to demolish the Earth by crashing into it would shatter the moment it reaches the Roche limit. The Moon itself would crumble into pieces, never making it to Earth’s surface and that’s going to look very majestic!
But what is Roche limit?
In Celestial mechanics, it is the point at which the gravity holding a satellite together is weaker than the tidal forces trying to pull it apart. In other words, the Moon can only get as close as 18,470 km away from our planet, before BOOM!
The tidal forces would tear it apart. All the footprints and flags that we have left on the Moon, all of its craters and valleys would scatter to form a breath-taking ring of debris above Earth’s equator – 37,000 kilometre in diameter – making Earth the second planet in our solar system, after Saturn, to have this striking ring of beauty. The difference being, our rings would not last long.
The chunks of our former satellite would rain down on Earth and would look like as if hundreds and thousands of asteroids were falling down on us and wiping out entire cities in the process.
Once the moon began its trajectory towards our planet, it would increase the tidal impact it has on us. By the time it hit the Roche limit, it would be causing tides as high as 30,000 feet. Our world would be devastated by a horde of Tsunamis.
However, for a short time, the hardcore surfers would enjoy riding some tasty waves. On the other hand, it might become a solution to global warming. With the Moon coming closer and closer, the Earth rotation would speed up, our days would become shorter and shorter, global temperatures would go down and no one would worry about climate change anymore. Unless asteroids burned the Earth to ashes, then there would be no one to worry about anything.
In fact, the Moon is drifting away from us at the rate of 4 cm per year. So, it’s unlikely that we would get to see those pretty, Saturn-like rings here on Earth. There are so many hypothetical Earth-destroying scenarios, but for the good of everyone, dear Moon, please don’t come much closer to the Earth.