Moon move­ments

Focus-Science and Technology - - Reply - Hamish Neill, Suf­folk

Re­gard­ing your very in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cle on build­ing a base on the Moon (Novem­ber, p61). The list of Moon facts in­cludes the sub­ject of a let­ter I wrote to ‘Q&A’ a few months ago. Among other de­tails you state that the Moon is mov­ing away from earth at 3.8cm per year and also that it is 4.53 bil­lion years old. My ques­tion, as yet unan­swered, was why is it still vis­i­ble, as­sum­ing the move­ment has been tak­ing place for that im­mense length of time?

Some cre­ation­ists claim that the moon could not pos­si­bly be more than a few thou­sand years old, oth­er­wise it would long since have dis­ap­peared. Surely there must be some other ex­pla­na­tion? The an­swer is that the rate at which the Moon is mov­ing away from us is in­creas­ing over time. So it’s 3.8cm per year now, but it was less in the past. Back then, when it was closer, it felt a stronger grav­i­ta­tional pull from the Earth and so couldn’t flee as fast. –

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