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Earth Days Getting Longer, Thanks To The Moon

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Days on Earth are getting longer as the moon moves further away, giving people slightly more time to accomplish their daily tasks.

A new study reconstructed the history of the relationship between the Earth and the moon, showing how the moon has affected the Earth over a period of 1.4 billion years. Earth days, apparently, will just keep getting longer from here on out.

Moon Making Earth Days Getting Longer

According to the new study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a day on Earth only lasted just a bit more than 18 hours around 1.4 billion years ago. Back then, the moon was closer to the Earth, changing the way the planet spun on its axis.

"As the moon moves away, the Earth is like a spinning figure skater who slows down as they stretch their arms out," said geoscience professor Stephen Meyers, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the authors of the study.

Meyers and his team used astrochronology, or the statistical method that connects astronomical theories with geological observations, to reconstruct the solar system's ancient history. According to Meyers, his team had the ambition of using astrochronology to tell time in the distant past and to develop very ancient geological time scales.

According to Meyers' calculation, the moon is moving away from the Earth at a rate of 3.82 centimeters a year, adding 2 milliseconds to Earth days every century. At such a rate, it will take around 200 million years before a full hour is added to the current Earth day. If humans are still around at the time, the length of a day will have to be recalculated from 24 hours to 25 hours.

Missions To The Moon

Who would have thought that the moon is affecting the Earth in such a way that makes days last a bit longer per year? The moon, apparently, still holds many mysteries, attracting the interest of researchers and scientists.

Last month, China launched a relay satellite named Queqiao or Magpie Bridge that will become the first satellite that will be operating from the dark side of the moon. The nonprofit Arch Mission Foundation also revealed plans of printing all 25 million pages of Wikipedia on small metal discs and send them all to the moon.

The interest of humanity on the moon, however, may not lead to a lunar colony. Tests revealed that moon dust is capable of killing cells and altering DNA, making living on the moon a dangerous proposition.

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