US Republican politician Louie Gohmert has been the subject of ridicule on social media after proposing to change the orbit of the Earth or Moon to tackle climate change. What would it be like if we moved the orbit of the Earth or the Moon?
Quoted from Inverse, Fred Adams, a professor of physics at the University of Michigan, expressed his opinion about moving the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, and whether it could help mankind survive longer or not.
Can you move the Earth or the Moon?
In his scientific paper published in Astrophysics and Space Science, Adams tackled a complex N-body problem, involving the use of large asteroids and the gravitational influences of Jupiter and Saturn to propel Earth into a new orbit where it could get the required amount of sunlight in the same amount of time. very large. This is a thought experiment poured into scientific writing.
Mathematically, this concept works. But it doesn’t change the climate in the time we need it and it could tackle climate change the way Gohmert wanted.
“The work we’re doing plays out on a timescale of billions of years. The climate change we’re dealing with now takes decades,” Adams explained.
Paul Byrne, a planetary scientist at North Carolina State University, expresses a similar sentiment. He mentioned that technically we could move the Moon. But it will not save us from the rate of global warming.
“The short answer is, we can do as many things as we want. The only limitation is energy, which functionally means money, and there probably won’t be enough funds ever produced by humans to produce the kind of energy needed to move the Moon in the required amount. means. We can do it. But will it be useful? No,” he explained.
Impact on Earth
Matteo Ceriotti, lecturer in aerospace systems engineering at the University of Glasgow, has performed several mathematical calculations related to the case of moving the Moon. He even wrote about it in 2019, and he believes there will be no climate change effect from the effort.
He highlighted the impact on Earth if this scenario were carried out. First, he saw the tidal conditions of the sea. This is one of the most prominent interactions between the Earth and the Moon.
“Tides don’t have a direct effect on climate, but they do affect the life of animals that depend on tides. And in the long term, this can affect climate to some extent,” explains Ceriotti.
In addition, moving the Moon away from Earth can change the period of its orbit, and in turn, this will change the seasons. However, according to Ceriotti, unless the Moon is moved away from its current orbit, this effect can only be felt over a period of thousands of years.
Again, Ceriotti corroborates the opinion of the two previous scientists. He mentioned that the concept of moving the orbit of the Earth or the Moon was supported in physics. But are we really going to do it? The answer is no, from both an energy and timescale perspective. Should we do it? According to Ceriotti neither, if you look at it from the perspective of unintended consequences.
“I would say that if we had enough energy, resources, and technology to change the Moon’s orbit to cause a change in Earth’s climate, we might have to rethink it. It’s better to invest the same amount of energy and resources into solving problems on Earth.” the lid.
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