Effect of Moon on Human Evolution

Context
With the recent launch of Chandrayaan-3 Mission of India, it holds significance as Moon has remained important to determine the geology of the Earth and for evolution of life itself.
  • Moon is responsible for Earth’s current length of the day, stable seasons and tides. It affects the everyday life of several species.
About Moon as a Satellite:
  • It is a small, silvery satellite of the Earth with an orbit of 384,400 kilometres.
  • Earth’s Moon is the fifth largest of the 200+ moons orbiting planets in our solar system.
What is a Satellite? A satellite is an object that moves around a larger object. The moon is a satellite because it moves around Earth. Earth and the moon are called “natural” satellites.
How Moon helped in Earth’s evolution?
  • Tidal Phenomenon: The biggest impact that the moon has on life is through tides.
    • Tides resulting from the gravitational force of the moon affect animal life in the intertidal zone, where the ocean meets the land between high and low tides.
    • Weaker tides due to the absence of the moon would have narrowed down this zone, increasing the competition for survival among the species.
    • The tides eroded the coastal areas, adding minerals to the oceans which have been essential for life to evolve quickly.
  • Marine animals and evolution: Tides led by the moon also affect the reproductive cycles of marine life, where the laying and hatching of turtles’ eggs depend on the timings of tides.
    • Most other animal behaviours relating to the moon are because the tides change the coastal environment.
  • Climate change and stabilising seasons: The absence of moon would lead to extreme climate change.
    • There would be huge differences between temperatures and daylight throughout the year, and ice ages would hit different parts of the world every few thousand years.
    • The moon’s gravitational pull helps to transport heat away from the equator and towards the poles, fundamentally shaping earth’s climate.
  • Rotation axis: Moon also stabilises the Earth’s rotation on its axis by slowing Earth’s rotation on its axis.
    • In the absence of the moon, the poles would be burning hot and the equator freezing cold, seasons would be a thing of the past, and night and day would be equally long all year round.
  • Affects Tectonic activity: The moon’s pull of gravity might have set our tectonic plates. It raises the level of the world’s oceans towards the equator. Without this gravity, the oceans would redistribute, raising levels at the poles.
Moon missions:
  • NASA currently has three robotic spacecraft exploring the Moon – Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiterand the twin ARTEMIS spacecraft (not to be confused with NASA’s new Artemis program to send astronauts back to the Moon).
  • Chandrayaan-3 is India’s third moon mission and is a follow-up of Chandrayaan-2 of July 2019, which aimed to land a rover on the lunar South Pole.

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