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If the Moon blew up......

Kris Reid
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Joined: Jan 05, 2005
Posts: 247
....Just had a lunch with a guy that was trying to tell me that if the Moon suddenly disappeared then life on earth would end.

I know that the moon commands the tied but other then that stopping what else would happen?
Ashok Mash
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Sorry to say this, but I think 'the guy' is onto something serious there.

Here's some reading material:

No Moon, no life on Earth, suggests theory.

What if the Moon didn't exist?
[ July 21, 2006: Message edited by: Ashok Mash ]

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Kris Reid
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Posts: 247
This talks about if the Moon never existed.

The guys comment was if the moon suddenly disappeared what changes would impact the earth
paul wheaton
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    ∞

Does the moon actually revolve around the earth, or do the moon and the earth sort of revolve around each other?


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Yuan Ye
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The earth evolves around the sun, and the moon evolves around the earth. If the moon suddently disapears, it will affect the tide greatly and so as the ocean life. More sea related disasters will happen. Some animals will distinct. More importantly, the moon is affecting the body fluids in all lifes on the earth, including human being. Even though the lifes might not be killed without moon, but I believe a lot abnormal will appear for the lifes on earth.
fred rosenberger
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  16

i always thought the earth and the moon both rotated around some point between the two centers of mass... possibly a point inside the earth.

and just to clarify, are we talking about the moon blowing up, or just magically disappearing in the blink of an eye?

if the moon blew up (some kind of large bomb, or a comet/asteroid hitting it), i think (having no evidence or qualifications to think this) the changes would be small... i mean, the mass would be there for a while, just in lots of little chunks. wouldn't it? it take a while for it to spreak out enough for the gravitational pull to dissapate.

whereas, if it simply dissappeard, it would be a major shock to the equilibrium.


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Jim Yingst
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[Responding to Paul - I see several others were doing the same]

They revolve around each other, with the earth much more "stationary" than the moon. So if the moon spontaneously vanished without a trace, the earth's orbit would change - maybe enough to significantly affect the climate. There are probably also many species whose lives revolve around tides, tide pools, etc. If tides were to stop (gradually die out, more likely) I don't know how big a ripple effect there'd be.

On the other hand, if the moon "blew up" spectacularly enough to get rid of all or most of its mass, I think our first concern would be massive meteors and tsunamis.

Interestingly, it's believed that the existence and size of the moon was important to the development of life on earth, as it acts to stabilize the earth's akis from wobbling too much, which would otherwise cause serious climactic changes making it much harder for life to evolve. Stuff like this wouldn't affect us for a long time if the moon "vanished", but on an evolutionary timescale, it would be a problem.
[ July 21, 2006: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]

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Bear Bibeault
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  67

Originally posted by Jim Yingst:

On the other hand, if the moon "blew up" spectacularly enough to get rid of all or most of its mass, I think our first concern would be massive meteors and tsunamis.


Exactly the scenario set up in Cowboy Bebop where a Ring (think Stargate) accident destroys part of the moon and renders the Earth's surface unihabitable due to constant bombardment.

Most of mankind exists on a terra-formed Mars and Ganymede.


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Anand Prabhu
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Wonder what would happen to the werewolves? :roll:
Henry Wong
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  40

If the moon can take an explosion that knocks it out of orbit. And sends it to a different solar system every week. Nothing could be powerful enough to blow it up.

Henry


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Jim Yingst
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Yeah, Bebop handled that much more plausibly than Space: 1999 did.

[I wrote that before seeing Henry's comment above, incidentally - I was responding to Bear.]

Re: werewolves - exactly! Werewolves would quickly go extinct, and with their main competitors eliminated, vampires would soon overrun the countryside. Got to watch out for all those ripple effects.
[ July 21, 2006: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
David O'Meara
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and...?

Turtles would die out too since the moon is integral to their breeding patterns. I like turtles, therefore the moon should stay.
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Henry Wong:
If the moon can take an explosion that knocks it out of orbit. And sends it to a different solar system every week. Nothing could be powerful enough to blow it up.

Henry


I think the only reason it held together was the intense gravitational pull generated by Martin Landau's 70's sideburns.
marc weber
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
...I think the only reason it held together was the intense gravitational pull generated by Martin Landau's 70's sideburns.

In my adolescence, Barbara Bain and Catherine Schell generated considerable gravitational pull.


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Jeroen T Wenting
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The combination moon/earth revolves around the sun, but the center of mass of that system is so close to the center of the earth that it can be counted as the moon revolving around the earth which revolves around the sun for all practical purposes as long as the system remains intact.

Were the moon's influence to disappear, there would be several effects (discounting the bombardment of earth with asteroids which might result from the cause of the moon's disappearance, since that cause is not established and therefore the existence or effect of those impacts cannot be determined or even guessed at).
1) massive tidal upset. The moon causes most tides on earth (there is some influence of the sun but compared to that of the moon this is tiny). In effect most tides would stop, with catastrophic effect on all (sea)life that depends on tides for survival (which is pretty much anything living in coastal waters and on the land facing that coast, plus in some places animals and plants living far inland where tides affect water levels in rivers and lakes as well).
2) this removal of tidal action will have a serious effect on ocean currents, causing more animal and plant life to die out. Due to these changes temperature patterns in the oceans would also change, causing more extinctions at sea and indirectly (through changes in climate caused by changing ocean currents and temperatures) affecting life on land on a massive scale.
3) as already hinted, werewolves would be especially hard hit.
4) the change in orbit of the planet might be severe enough to cause a rapid change in solar input on the planet. Depending on what that exact change would be this could take the form of either increasing or decreasing net solar input (causing either a serious rise or fall in surface and air temperatures, each having their effect on plant and indirectly animal life) and/or causing the seasons to change which also affects those life forms depending on seasonal changes in some way.
If the tilt of the earth's axis were to be reduced for example the climate all over the planet would become more stable, the regions closer to the poles becoming locked in eternal winter, those nearer the equator in permanent summer.
The reduced total mass of the moon/earth system due to the removal of the moon might also cause the orbit of the earth to move outward from the sun, causing a decrease in solar input and therefore a sharp decline in surface temperatures, where even a small decline could be enough to trigger another ice age (and this one would last not for a few hundred thousand to a few million but for a billion years or more).

So yes, the disappearance of the moon could well herald the end of life on earth, at least life as we know it today in all its variety and virility.
And that's without the possible bombardment with a series of dinosaur killers which a cataclysmic destruction of the moon would quite possibly cause, which would mean the end of most life on earth even before the more permanent effects were to settle in.


42
Jim Yingst
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[fred]: always thought the earth and the moon both rotated around some point between the two centers of mass... possibly a point inside the earth.

Yes, the center of mass of the Earth/Moon system is inside the Earth's radius, about 3/4 of the way out from the center or the earth.

[Jeroen]: possible bombardment with a series of dinosaur killers

On a positive note, we can expect that dinosaur casualties this time will be greatly reduced compared to the last such incident.
Alan Wanwierd
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There are many things in life that seem to revolve around a lunar cycle..

The human menstrual cycle is 28 days long? Coincidence or lunar influence? Would this mean that without the moons effects ALL human women would simultaneously stop menstruating?...

If so - assuming we survive any effects of the exploding moon and any impacts, AND cope with the ensuing lack of tides, loss of biodoversity from tidal environments AND the destabilising radical weather events - we could be effectively given approxiamtely 70 years max. to live as a species since no menstruation = no more babies.....
Devesh H Rao
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Where will the rabits go at Night without the moon ...?
I also vote for the moon not to blow up on its own or under any external pressure, I will really miss the "playful bunnies"
Jeroen T Wenting
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On a positive note, we can expect that dinosaur casualties this time will be greatly reduced compared to the last such incident.


That will make the WWF happy

The human menstrual cycle is 28 days long? Coincidence or lunar influence? Would this mean that without the moons effects ALL human women would simultaneously stop menstruating?...


It evolved to the lunar cycle, but it will likely not be influenced by its absense (at least not for a long time, the species (if it survives) may evolve to other mating cycles.
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
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    ∞

I the episode of The Tick "Alone Together", that eater-of-worlds guy took a bite out of the moon - things seemed to go on okay then.

But if the moon blows up and shoots fragments toward us, then they will burn during re-entry and then the ash will get in my hair. Gross! Hmmmm .... now I think I know why all those guys out there are shaving their heads ...
Jim Yingst
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[Paul]: But if the moon blows up and shoots fragments toward us, then they will burn during re-entry and then the ash will get in my hair. Gross!

Not to worry - I'm sure a tsunami will be along shortly to wash that out for you. Might not make it to me in the mountains, but you there on the coast - you're hosed.
[ July 25, 2006: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
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  95

[Jim]: Not to worry - I'm sure a tsunami will be along shortly to wash that out for you. Might not make it to me in the mountains, but you there on the coast - you're hosed.

Nah - I live on the top of one really big hill, and work on the top of another really big hill. So as long as the tsunami doesnt hit in the middle of my commute I should be fine.

If the water level stays high though, I may have to trade in my bike for a kayak - that could be a cool way to commute.
[ July 25, 2006: Message edited by: Andrew Monkhouse ]

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Jim Yingst
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Maybe. Be aware that on July 9, 1958, Lituya Bay, Alaska experienced a landslide-generated megastunami that wiped out trees as high as 520 meters above the waterline. I'm thinking a big chunk of moon landing nearby might have a similar effect. How tall is that hill you're on?
[ July 25, 2006: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Jeroen T Wenting
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[Paul]: But if the moon blows up and shoots fragments toward us, then they will burn during re-entry and then the ash will get in my hair. Gross!

Not to worry - I'm sure a tsunami will be along shortly to wash that out for you. Might not make it to me in the mountains, but you there on the coast - you're hosed.


I'm worse of, I live 20ft under sealevel, work 15ft under sealevel, and most my entire commute is below sealevel as well.
I'd better invest in a submarine I think, just in case
Tony Alicea
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    5
Two Gravitationally attracted bodies revolve around their center of gravity.

In the case of the Sun and Earth, this center falls inside the Sun's surface. Maybe the Moon/Earth center of gravity is also inside the Earth; I am not sure. Probably?

But the important point is that a gravitationally coupled pair of bodies revolve around their center of gravity and not one 'around' the other.
paul wheaton
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    ∞

.... I'm gonna wash that ash right outta my hair ....
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

The Isaac Asimov novel "The Gods Themselves" includes a subterranean society on the moon, complete with a madman who wants to take the moon on a joyride through the solar system (the means become available to him in the form of both a source of infinite energy and a way to get rid of the excess angular momentum). Everything that's been said up until now has concerned what would happen to the Earth if the moon was gone.

But what would happen to the moon if the Earth was gone? I think maybe not so much.


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Bear Bibeault
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  67

Didn't you watch Space 1999?

P.S. The Gods Themsleves is a great read.
David O'Meara
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I still like turtles.

If the Earth were gone, there is the chance less debris would be attracted to the vicinity of the moon and it wouldn't get beaten on so much.
Ulf Dittmer
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  65
What's the moon ever done for you?


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Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
Didn't you watch Space 1999?


You know, I never did. As a teen I thought that the little robot in the original series was so... repellent, that it never occurred to me to watch the new series, either. I was a cantankerous old man even then!
Bob Reardon
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I recently watched a Discovery Channel show on the moon. How it was created, how it effects the earth, etc, etc. One thing they did emphasize was that the moon is slowly moving away from the earth. Over time, the moon will exert less and less influence on the earth, and possibly bring about some of the changes mentioned above.
Bear Bibeault
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  67

Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
As a teen I thought that the little robot in the original series was so... repellent, ...


Er, robot? Are you perhaps thinking of Buck Rogers?
marc weber
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Odd that this thread should reappear...

As a youngster in the mid-70's, I watched the syndicated British show Space: 1999 because I thought it was cool. Then about 10 years ago, I caught a bit of it on cable, and was really disappointed at how bad it looked. But just a couple of weeks ago, I bought the DVD megaset, and I'm loving it! It's "bad" and "cool" at the same time, kind of like bean bag chairs and lava lamps. Good stuff from the days when sci-fi set decoration meant banks of fuzzy black & white video monitors.

I was convinced to buy the Space: 1999 megaset after re-discovering UFO on DVD. That was an earlier show by the same producers that only lasted one season. Ay... Where to start with that oddity?

(As Bear suggested, that repulsive little robot, Twiki, was from the late-70's Buck Rogers on an American network. Now, that was Bad -- and not in a good way. Although it's time may still come.)
Jim Yingst
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[EFH]: You know, I never did. As a teen I thought that the little robot in the original series was so... repellent, that it never occurred to me to watch the new series, either.

[Bear]: Er, robot? Are you perhaps thinking of Buck Rogers?

Er, new series? Battlestar Galactica, maybe? The original had a lame robot, too, though Twiki on Buck Rogers was much worse.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

[/me spends a bit of time at Wikipedia]

Twiki it indeed was. Apparently my memory had conflated all three of these shows. Does this mean I have to hand in my geek ID card?

Truth is I've never really been much of a television person, which probably means I need to hand in my U.S. passport.
marc weber
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Now, where to find a Space: 1999 t-shirt?
Bear Bibeault
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  67

Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
Does this mean I have to hand in my geek ID card?

No, but you must be strapped into a chair, eyes propped open (a la A Clockwork Orange) and forced to sit through every episode of The Brady Bunch as punishment.
marc weber
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Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
... No, but you must be strapped into a chair, eyes propped open (a la A Clockwork Orange) and forced to sit through every episode of The Brady Bunch as punishment.

Isn't that a bit harsh? Just hearing the theme song that many times would drive a person mad.
Bear Bibeault
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  67

Originally posted by marc weber:

Isn't that a bit harsh? Just hearing the theme song that many times would drive a person mad.
Well beyond cruel and unusual! Bwa-ha-ha!
 
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