Monday, July 20, 2009

In Praise of the Moon

moon This week marks the fortieth anniversary of Man's walk on the Moon. On this occasion, we at Nomadic View would like to take this moment to sing a song of praise for Luna.

Scientists tell us that moons like ours are fairly uncommon in the universe, occurring, at most, in only five to ten percent of the planetary systems. The Earth is unique amongst the terrestrial planets in having a large satellite, the Moon, which, relative to the Earth, has the largest mass of any satellite - parent system. George Rieke, Ph.D., an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., says our moon is unique -- formed by a massive collision in space. "There was another planet about the size of Mars that was on a disastrous orbit across the Earth's orbit and so the Earth and this other planet ran into each other," he says. At the time of this collision, the Earth was still in the initial cooling stages, but following this crash, two distinct shapes formed from the molten debris.

When life began on Earth, the Moon was much closer-possibly only 20 to 30 thousands of kilometers away, and it would have looked extremely large in the sky, at least 20 to 10 times bigger. As a result of the Moon's close proximity, its tidal effects were much stronger. According to Richard Lathe, a molecular biologist at Pieta Research in Edinburgh, these tides could have helped drive the evolution of early DNA-like bio-molecules by regularly fluctuating the salinity levels.

The tides caused by the Moon, according to some biologists, may also have played a role in later evolution as well. The land affected by the ebb and flow may have been the only reasonable area for the emergence of the first terrestrial life forms Areas that were sometimes wet but not underwater may have allowed the transition from oceanic life. The regular rise and fall of sea level creates an unique environment in the Solar System, where life is exposed to both immersion in water and exposure to air in the space of a few hours.

The Moon, born at a crash scene, must surely have been essential for the development of intelligent life on this planet and possibly such intelligence is a very unique event in the Universe. (Does it fill you with fear or awe and reverence to consider that in the entire Universe, intelligent life on Earth, thanks to the Moon, might be unique?)

Finally men looked up at the Moon unavoidably and this has constantly spurred us on intellectually. There the Moon appeared, constantly taunting us for the answer to her riddle, through the ages challenging scientists to explain its face, sometime in shadow and sometime in glorious fullness.

For these reasons, but mostly because of your inspiring beauty on a summer night, we salute you,  enchanting Selene. 

Poem on God and The Moon

by Sukasah Syahdan

Before we ask if God exists
we should ask if man really
landed on the moon.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Always great to hear from visitors to Nomadic View. What's on your mind?


Related Posts with Thumbnails