Anonymous yet personal, this Blog chronicles
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Factoid

Each year the orbit of the Moon widens by one and a half inches (3.8 cm). At an approximate average distance of 385,000 km, it gradually increases it's distance from earth.

The gradually increasing earth-moon distance is related to the slowing of the Earth's rotation as a result of the conservation of angular momentum law in physics.




Above is a photo of the earth and moon taken by the Galileo spacecraft from 3.9 million miles away in space. The white line was added to indicate the path of the orbit.

But what would happen if the moon broke away from the earth's orbit and went it's own way?

I think people would be bummed. It would have a dramatic impact on the physical and psychological well-being of humans everywhere on the planet.

If this were to happen, I'd propose that NASA take on a project to construct and place into orbit an artificial moon to aid humanity. It's simpler than it sounds.

Several flat and circular geo-stationary satellites could be erected in space above each of the major continents. The lower surface of the huge satellites would house white LEDs on the earth-facing side, and solar cells would be installed on the outer sun-facing side. The substitute moons would store energy during the day, and switch on at night to create a lunar illusion for the benefit of people living below. It could be remote controlled by computer to simulate the changing lunar phases, and even be shut off where we anticipate that a lunar eclipse would normally occur. If the LEDs and solar cells were small enough and could be mounted on a grid, then during the day sunlight would be able to shine through the open spaces down to the earth. The massive project could be paid for with occasional electronic banner advertising - done tastefully of course.

True, the Moon wouldn't move around the sky like it does today, but if it were done well, it could look pretty realistic.

Think about it.
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