If the Moon Were as Close to the Earth as the ISS, We’d Be in Big Trouble [Video]
Welp, so much for a miracle romance.
Fun fact: the ISS is actually way closer to the Earth than you’d think it would be. Like, only about 240 miles. That’s basically less than a three and a half hour drive on your standard highway road in the U.S. Which is fine, because as far as space objects go, the ISS is pretty small. But what if the Moon were traveling at that distance instead?
In another video from Nick of yeti dynamics, the guy who recently decided to send Saturn zooming past the Earth on the way to the Sun, the Moon gets real up-close and personal with the planet around which it orbits, closing in the distance from 384, 400 km to 420 km. The end result looks pretty spectacular, but the added pull of Moon’s gravity on Earth would probably doom us all. Says Bad Astronomer Phil Plait:
There would be global floods as a tidal wave kilometers high sweeps around the world every 90 minutes (due to the Moon’s closer, faster orbit), scouring clean everything in its path. The Earth itself would also be stretched up and down, so there would be apocalyptic earthquakes, not to mention huge internal heating of the Earth and subsequent volcanism. I’d think that the oceans might even boil away due to the enormous heat released from the Earth’s interior, so at least that spares you the flood … but replaces water with lava. Yay?
Of course, the Moon doesn’t get out of this unscathed either—it gets ripped apart into little tiny pieces and stretched out to become a debris-filled ring, like the ones circling Saturn. “That would be cool to see, too, except for the whole everyone being dead thing,” Plait adds. Oh, well. That’s what hypothetical scientific models on YouTube are for, right?
(via Laughing Squid)