Yes, I went there. Press play now and read on.
Whether or not you are aware, the Moon is one badass partner of Earth. The Moon’s duties far surpass causing werewolves to come out once a month and providing vampires with appropriate snacking conditions. We probably couldn’t and wouldn’t even be here without good old Luna.
Firstly, the story of the Moon is like a story you hear at a reunion about that pretty girl who put her life on hold for the man she loves. (read: this is grossly oversimplified information because I have limits in my level of research and I’m not smart enough to be an astrophysicist.) According to popular theory, a proto-planet named Theia was developing just as nicely as Earth, hanging in the background following Earth around when the Lagrangian point (a super Science-y term that basically means something hangs out in the same orbit because it’s stuck in the sweet spot of gravity between two bigger things [in this case, Earth and the Sun]) was unable to continue suspending both the Theia and Earth because Theia grew to more than the Lagrangian point could handle(dramatic tension). An easy way to understand this is to think of Theia growing into her own shoes and Earth getting really annoyed by her progress like a psycho boyfriend, which disturbed the tender balance of their relationship (the Lagrangian point).
Basically Theia was S.O.L. and got the heave-ho from the gravitational pull and crashed into Earth, which apparently resulted in residual damage we now call The Moon. In other words, when challenged to GTFO or shrink back down in size, Theia chose to support her man by taking the ego blow and gave up her future to give more to Earth. And then they had a baby called The Moon, that supports Earth.
There are also some seriously unanswered questions. Like, why did The Moon go through a really angsty phase consisting of a magma ocean, but there is no evidence that Earth ever had an angry magma ocean after Theia went down?
But either way, the Moon is our hero.
No, seriously. The Moon slows Earth down, providing a more steady breeze instead of gale force winds. Possibly even more important for us, its gravitational pull keeps the Earth on its steady axis, keeping our seasons more consistent. That way we don’t wind up with a planet like Mars, who acts like a drunkard stumbling home after a night of drinking away its emotions (wobbling around and causing ice ages followed by meltdowns in quick succession).
Also, the Moon can’t even spin around anymore. From constantly orbiting Earth, with all its tidal forces, it’s now in a tidal lock (I think that’s the term, but that whole fact checking thing has run it’s course) and it only shows one face to us. So we only ever see part of the Far Side of the Moon through libration (that weird thing where the moon seems to be hula-ing its way through life. He must like Shakira a lot.)
So the next time you want to call the Moon creepy, eerie, or – depending on your perspective – that pretty thing that hangs out with the stars at night, just remember that Luna’s got your back. For another 50 billion years or so, anyway.
My sources for this weird little Monday article are here: