Scientists have issued a stark warning saying that Earth’s moon is in fact on a COLLISION COURSE with our planet. Scientists claim that as a result of tidal friction— the way that the moon’s gravitational pull plays around with Earth’s oceans, what eventually causes tides— the moon will slowly begin to move towards Earth, and eventually collide with out planet.
According to experts, the Earth and the moon will COLLIDE in an event that will be catastrophic for both celestial bodies.
Even though our moon is currently moving AWAY from Earth at an approximate rate of nearly 4 centimeters per year, scientists have issued a stark warning claiming that the moon will eventually hurtle towards Earth.
Scientists claim that as a result of tidal friction— the way that the moon’s gravitational pull plays around with Earth’s oceans, what eventually causes tides— the moon will slowly begin to move towards Earth, and eventually collide with out planet.
Jason Barnes, a planetary scientist at the University of Idaho, told Forbes: “The final end-state of tidal evolution in the Earth-Moon system will indeed be the inspiral of the Moon and its subsequent collision and accretion onto Earth.”
Scientists say that our planet’s rotation period will slow down and match the orbital period of the moon. When this occurs, our planet’s gravitational pull will tug on the moon, which will cause it to slowly begin drifting towards us.
“Eventually, [the Moon] would get so close that it would spiral inward, dissipating its orbital kinetic energy in a spectacular collision and merger with the Earth,” said Barnes.
However, do not be alarmed. Scientists warn that this is not likely to happen in another 65 BILLION years. Phew.
In 65 BILLION years, things in our solar system will cook up. By then, the sun will have reached its red giant phase— the end of its life where it will start expanding, eventually swallowing most of our solar system.
We can’t be sure, yet, though, whether or not the Earth-Moon system would survive the Sun’s Red Giant Phase, says Barnes. That is when some six billion years from now our Sun runs out of nuclear fuel; its core becomes a burned-out remnant white dwarf; and, its outer layers expand outward beyond Earth orbit.
Interestingly, a recent study challenged EVERYTHING astronomers thought they knew about how our ‘natural’ satellite came into existence. According to the leading theory, our moon was formed after a GIANT impact between a very early Earth and another planet the size of Mars dubbed Theia. The debris produced by the collision formed a dense, hot cloud of debris around our world, which, by the force of gravity, ended up being shaped together to create our natural satellite.
Experts from Israel have just put forth a new theory that suggests our Moon may have formed from a SERIES of massive impacts, and not just ONE. A study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, explains why Earth’s natural satellite is mostly made from Earth-like materials, and not a mixture of elements and those from another celestial body that participated in the collision.
It seems that it’s fairly common for celestial bodies to impact into one another.
Additional source: http://www.uidaho.edu/sci/physics/people/faculty/jwbarnes