If the moon suddenly disappeared, it would unleash a devastating chain of events that would ultimately spell the end for life on Earth.
The most immediate difference would be the disappearance of the tides.
Both the sun and moon influence the tides on Earth, but the moon is the dominant force. Remove the moon and the daily rush of the tides would recede to a gentle ripple.
The next omen of doom would be wild swings in the Earth’s rotational axis from a position almost perpendicular to the ecliptic plane all the way to being practically parallel to it.
These swings would provoke drastic climate changes.
When the axis points straight up, each point on the globe would receive a constant amount of heat throughout the year but, when the axis lies parallel to the ecliptic, earthlings would spend six months of the year sweltering under the unending blaze of the sun, only to spin round and shiver for the next six months, hidden on the frigid surface of the Earth’s dark side.
Of all calamities, though, the creature to be pitied first is the marine organism called “nautilus.”
This mollusc lives in an elegant shell shaped like a perfect spiral partitioned off into compartments. The nautilus only lives in the outermost partition, and each day adds a new layer to its shell.
At the end of each month, when the moon has completed one revolution around Earth, the nautilus abandons its current compartment, closes it up with a partition, and moves into a new one.
Scientists have proved that the number of layers making up a chamber are directly linked to the number of days it takes the moon to circle the Earth. Remove the moon and the nautilus lies stranded, forever locked in the same chamber and wishing ruefully for the days when it could look forward to a new home.
The moon and the Earth both have a gravitational effect on each other.
They orbit about a point in between them and, as a pair, in turn they rotate around the sun.
If the moon was suddenly taken away by aliens, the pull from the moon would disappear, thus unbalancing Earth’s orbit. This would lead to the Earth plunging out of its current orbit in a direction which depends on the position of the moon and Earth at that time.
It would probably result in a more elliptical orbit and greater extremes in temperature and massive climate changes would make our planet uninhabitable.
Knowing this, we should all worship the moon because we might have not evolved into what we are without it.
The end of tides would have a major detrimental effect on coastal ecosystems. Mangroves, for example, rely on regular tidal motions to sweep in nutrients and such. It would also change the patterns of ocean currents, causing major climate change.
Additionally, a major source of nighttime light would disappear.
This would affect the behavior of all nocturnal animals and the synchronization of behavior associated with the lunar period. Owls would find it more difficult to hunt and insects would find it harder to find a mate because they fly up towards the moon.
As reassurance, we can confirm that we have no inside knowledge of an alien plot to remove the moon.
It would seem an unlikely stunt, even for a civilization with a sense of humor that is advanced many millions of years beyond our own.