We owe our life to the Moon (and puddles...) January 11 2016, 0 Comments

I’ll begin this year’s posts with an audacious statement:

We owe life itself to the moon.

And water.

Well, actually the puddles left by the tides.

I’m no scientist, but in some recent reading about the moon, I discovered a fascinating snippet: We actually owe life on Earth to the moon. Crazy huh?

Here’s the story: When the moon was formed it caused a fluctuation in the Earth’s orbit, which eventually slowed down Earth’s rotation and moderated the tides. These changes were essential for forming the biological building blocks of life.

Want proof? Walk along the ocean’s edge and look into a few tide pools. You’ll see a remarkable variety of life in there. As ocean waves splash up on the rocks during high tides, the rocks trap the water and the sun heats it up, gradually creating a concentrated soup that supports the processes necessary for creating life. So puddles are actually little bassinettes for baby life forms! Who knew?

I suspect that at the root of our fascination with the dull rock we know as the moon there may be a deep seated memory of its influence on life as we know it. The Sun is essential for providing light, warmth, and gravity for sure. But it was the Sun and moon together, weaving in and around each other, that eventually produced the right cadence and sequence to create life on Earth; an unbelievable range of creatures, in fact, capable of surviving in an equally astounding range of climatic conditions.

So now when I look up at the moon I say, “Thank you.” for keeping our orbit a little lopsided and for dancing with the Sun to create the beautiful ebb and flow of the tides.

And puddles. Thanks for those, too.


 Here is a great article from Scientific American to fill out the story in more scientific detail.