The significance of our moon cannot be understated, research shows

The moon acts in tandem with Earth to make life possible.
By Lliane Hunter | May 08, 2018
Life as we know it may cease to exist without the presence of our moon, writes Morgan McFall-Johnsen for Popular Science. Not only would the moon's absence cause our nights to becomemuch darker (the moon's surface reflects the sun's light during nighttime), but animals that rely on vision for their sustenance would find it difficult to hunt. Predators that hunt at night, rely on the moon to do this effectivelywhereas, rodents who hide in moonlight, would thrive. Laura Prugh, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Washington, believes that Earth would experience "some shifts in which species are common and which species are rare in a system."

Tides would change as well, explains McFall-Johnsen, rising and falling at a much slower rateabout one-third of their current fluctuation. "A two-thirds reduction in tides would drastically alter coastal ecosystems, potentially destroying many of them and disrupting the flow of energy, water, minerals, and other resources," he writes.

Inaddition to ecosystems, tidal movements help drive ocean currents, which directs global weather patterns. "A planet outside of our solar system needs to have a pretty good-sized moon in order for the weather systems to be calm enough to produce a civilization like ours," says Jack Burns, who leads the Network for Exploration and Space Science at the University of Colorado. Essentially, without the moon's impact on our planet, life (if even possible) would be incredibly chaotic.


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