What Would Happen If the Moon Crashed Into Earth

The ever-philosophical design house Kurzgesagt explains what would happen in the extremely unlikely event that the Moon crashed into Earth. Despite the verbiage, this event would not be an immediate collision, but rather a slow and catastrophic series of events that would unfold over time.

Today we are answering an age-old very scientific and important question: What if the moon crashes into earth? It’s more interesting and weird than you probably think.

This can occur when the speed at which the Moon moves is changed. This, in turn, affects its orbit.

So for the moon to just stop  in its orbit and plummet to the earth would break more laws of physics than we have time  to explain. So how do we crash it into earth? In a nutshell, to change an object’s  orbit, you need to change its speed,  which changes where gravity takes it. But  even small changes require enormous forces,  which is why all the large objects in  the solar system are so stable nowadays.

If the moon’s speed and its orbit change, a series of cataclysmic events would unfold over the course of 12 months, although the occurrences of the last three would wipe out most of humanity.

At this point the apocalypse has arrived and  we can summarize the months before the crash as “everybody left has a really bad time”.  The tides sweeping over the Earth slow down  and then reverse their direction because the  moon now orbits earth faster than it rotates. The planet will experience an abundance of  earthquakes and volcanism. Massive amounts of  volcanic aerosols rise high into the stratosphere,  shiny enough to reflect sunlight back into space.  

So while this type of event is extremely unlikely, it is interesting, and even a bit crazy to examine.

So how do you calculate that sort of thing? Well,   you just need a bit of insanity and some maths

P.S. Don’t Look Up

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.