How was the Earth’s best friend created?

It must be said that the Moon is one of the most mysterious things that exists. We can see it clearly on Earth, but we only ever see one side of it. It can be seen both in the day and night as it reflects light from the sun. It affects the tides of the ocean, the Earth’s obliquity or ‘wobble and was used for centuries to work out the time of day. However, how has this strange, colossal mass formed in our sky and what would happen if we did not have a moon at all?
The concept of The Big Bang is not new to most people. The Big Bang can be neglected by some but is strongly supported by others. To those who support the theory of The Big Bang, this was the explosion that occurred at the beginning of the universe forming stars, planets, and matter. It was the moment that formed the basis of the materials that we have today. Yet, although this concept is widely known, the formation of the planets and their moons has somehow been lost in these explanations.
One of the most interesting concepts is how smaller masses, such as moons form and orbit larger planets. Thanks to astronauts who have visited the Moon, along with the many probes and satellites that have also been into space, we now know a lot about the Moon’s composition. But for all the explorations done on the moon and the knowledge gained, scientists are still struggling with a seemingly straightforward question: where the Moon came from?
It has been suggested that the moon was created along with the Earth as it was being formed. This was first suggested by the Italian astronomer, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei who had succeeded in making the first telescope powerful enough to show the moon in greater detail than had been seen before. In the early 1600s, Galileo showed that the Moon had a very similar landscape to the Earth, and this is where the suggestion that the Earth and Moon had formed simultaneously came from. Then later in the 1800s, the son of Charles Darwin, Sir George Darwin, suggested that when the Earth was young and was still a rapidly rotating ball of molten rock, it had been spinning so fast that some material broke away and began to orbit the earth. (It is said the Pacific Ocean is the ‘scar’ from this separation.)
The most widely accepted theory today is that the Moon was formed during a collision between the Earth and another small planet, Theia (a roughly Mars-sized planet). This collision turned the newly formed Earth into a ball of molten rock again and ejected debris from this impact which collected in an orbit around Earth to form the Moon as we now know it. Scientists have experimented with modelling the impact, changing the size of Theia to test what happens at different sizes and impact angles, trying to get the nearest possible match. This theory was first created in 1946 by Reginald Aldworth Daly from Harvard University. He questioned Darwin’s theory, calculating that only a piece of Earth breaking off could not allow the Moon to get to its current position.
So why is there so much research being done on the moon? Well, to start with, the moon is an important part of the Earth’s system, it not only provides light during the night, but it affects the ocean tides which are a result of the Moon’s gravitational pull. Without the gravitational pull on the Earth, the variation in sea animal species would decrease due to them not being able to lay eggs, for example, during lower tides. From a human point of view, this would mean that the number of fishes moving to areas close to land would decrease, which has significant economic impacts, especially on developing countries. For those who are interested in sport, the loss of the moon would mean the disappearance of surfing!
So, even though we do not know exactly how the Moon was formed, the giant impact theory holds the most promise, and scientists are on the ongoing mission of looking for clues to tell us more.

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