Is it a meteor shower? Space debris? No, it’s something much, much worse. Our nearest neighbor is a full Moon no more. The Moon exploded and splintered into millions of fragments. Enormous lunar rocks are hurtling toward Earth. Could this wipe us off the face of the planet? How could the Moon explode in the first place? And if we do survive, how would losing the Moon change life as we know it?
Okay, so how on Earth did the Moon blow up? A blast mining operation gone wrong? A nuclear blast? A collision with a rogue planet? Whatever caused this catastrophe, you’d have to be packing some serious firepower to blow up the Moon. The largest nuclear bomb ever built, the Tsar Bomba, had the energy of over 57 million tons of TNT. Think that’s strong enough? It’s just a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of force you’d need to blow up the Moon.
You’d need the power of over 600 billion Tsar Bombas to destroy the Moon. With anything less than that, the Moon would just crack into pieces and its gravity would pull it back together again. But if someone, or something managed to explode the Moon, uh, it would spell bad news for us.
The Moon debris would scatter across the Solar System. Some into the abyss of outer space, and some headed straight for Earth. Earth’s gravitational pull would immediately start to attract the Moon rocks. As the Moon’s remains start to pick up speed, they would come crashing down into the atmosphere.
Luckily, most of the smaller debris would burn up before it reaches us. Any larger pieces that got through would be traveling much slower than a similar-sized asteroid. The damage they’d cause wouldn’t amount to much. But, is it just me, or is it getting a little hot in here? The Moon chunks aren’t causing much damage. But the endless barrage of debris on our atmosphere would start to heat up the Earth.
The whole world would start to get hotter, and hotter, eventually getting to the point of incinerating all life. Talk about a bad way to go.Oh, and if you’re thinking about trying to evacuate Earth, better do so ASAP. The Moon debris, combined with the satellites it’d destroy in space, would make any trip out nearly impossible.
But what if you did manage to get out of Dodge, or hunker down into the deepest parts of the Earth? What would life be like in the aftermath?
Well, for some of us, it wouldn’t get any cooler. The Moon helps stabilize the Earth’s axial tilt. It’s what gives us seasons. With a new tilt, some parts of the Earth could be constantly exposed to the Sun. In the worst case, the polar regions could start rapidly melting, raising the sea levels, and drowning out parts of the world.
As the debris settles, the skies could look a little different. The remaining Moon rock might cluster around the Earth forming a giant ring, like Saturn. But don’t stop and stare too long, every once in a while, some of the debris could rain down onto the Earth. Over billions of years, the Moon’s gravitational pull slowed down the Earth’s rotation, giving us 24 hour days. Without it, the Earth would start to rotate faster and faster. We’d have shorter days, and stronger winds. Birds and insects would have a tough time surviving the harsh winds.
Not only that, ocean tides would start to die down into tiny waves. The Moon’s gravity helps create tides on Earth. Bummed out that you can’t rip some gnarly waves anymore? Well dude, there will be a much bigger problem. It would wipe out all of the sea creatures that rely on the tides and ocean currents for survival.
Our whole world would literally be flipped upside down. The Earth would burn up, our days would be shorter, and the Moon wouldn’t be there to light up the night sky.Now that we know how devastating it would be if the Moon exploded, what if instead of having no Moon, we had two?
- “What Would Happen If We Blew Up The Moon?“. 2020. BBC Science Focus Magazine.
- “Tsar Bomba“. 2020. Tsarbomba.Org.
- “JPL | The Lunar Gold Rush: How Moon Mining Could Work“. 2020. JPL Infographics.
- “Mining And Explosives | Mines Canada“. 2020. Minescanada.Ca.
- “The Big Bang: Coordinating The World’S Biggest Mine Blast“. 2020. Mining-Technology.Com.
- “How Does The Moon Affect The Earth?“. 2020. How Does The Moon Affect The Earth? | Institute Of Physics.
- “Project A119: Inside The United States’ Secret Plan To Blow Up The Moon“. Clark, Bryan. 2019. The Next Web.