Our natural rocky satellite has been the Earth's companion for billions of years. As well as being an inspiration for artists, poets and a useful source of light for night time walkers, there are many other scientific reasons to be grateful for our moon. The truth is that life on Earth may not have evolved so much beautiful complexity without it. From tidal forces that influence our oceans to a stabilizing counterweight for the Earth, life would be near impossible without our moon.


1. Balancing

Around 4 billion years ago, a small planet named Thea collided with the Earth. Both worlds combined and melted. A smaller section of molten rock budded off the more significant part and cooled to form the moon. If Thea had missed the Earth and the moon never created, then our planet would behave differently in orbit. Planets without moons have a distinct wobble, called a precession. This wobble would make weather and seasonal patterns much more unstable than they are now. Possibly ice ages would be more frequent as a result. Our moon and Earth pull on each others mass through gravity. This pull balances our planet, reducing the wobble and allowing us to enjoy a more stable climate than if it was not there.

moon photovideostock / Getty Images

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