Monday, January 22, 2007

"Earth's Moon Destined to Disintegrate"

La Luna could be on a course to complete disintegration!

'Reaching the Roche limit means that the gravity holding it [the Moon] {sic} together is weaker than the tidal forces acting to pull it apart,' [Iowa State University's Lee Anne] Willson said.

The Moon will be torn to pieces and every crater, mountain, valley, footprint and flag will be scattered to form a spectacular 23,000-mile-diameter (37,000-kilometer) Saturn-like ring of debris above Earth's equator. The new rings will be short-lived. Theory dictates they'll eventually rain down onto Earth's surface.

'Particles of different masses will have different survival times; the smaller particles will be removed first, and the biggest ones last. Most of the ring particles would be gone by the time the Earth reaches the stellar photosphere,' Willson said.

Don't fret too much, though. If this happens, it won't be for another 5 billion years or so.

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