Ask The Space Lab Expert: Why Is The Moon Soooo Important?

Petro: Well, studying the
effects of the moon on Earth is incredibly interesting. Most scientists agree
that the moon has played a pivotal role
in both the evolution of life on Earth and
the evolution of our society. The most obvious influence
the moon has had on us is the ocean’s tides. The regular rise and fall
of sea level creates a unique environment where various life-forms
are exposed to both immersion in water and exposure to air during the span
of just a few short hours. This interface between the
two distinct ecological niches is thought to have been crucial
in evolutionary terms. Next, astronomers say
that the presence of this large orbiting body,
the moon, stabilized the axial tilt
of the Earth. The way the Earth
is currently tilted insures that the difference
in heating between the two poles
and the equator is sufficient to promote
a healthy and diverse range of climate zones
without too many extremes. Also, the moon has encouraged
the development of our society
in a less quantifiable way. Early astronomers marked time,
calculated calendars, based on lunar observations. Farmers planned
their agricultural pursuits exclusively on where the moon
was located in the sky. Mythology and literature
highlighting the moon in many, many stories,
such as turning men into werewolves,
permeate our culture even today. But arguably maybe
the most direct influence the moon has had
on American society are the many technological
advancements created by our race
to be the first people to land on the moon.