Life on Earth has adapted to our 24 hour day, but the Earth’s spin is slowing down. What would it be like to live on an Earth that stops spinning?

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

No matter what happens, we can rest easy knowing that tomorrow is a new day. But that might not be something we’ll be able to say in billions of years. The Earth’s spin is slowing down. Eventually, days will get longer, and when they do, the lack of daily dawn could be the least of our problems.

The Earth spins because of the Mars-sized body that smashed into it when it was young. The collision set our planet spinning so fast the day was about 6 hours long, and it simultaneously knocked out a chunk of material that coalesced to become the Moon. The Earth and Moon settled into a gravitational relationship, one of the effects of which was the Moon causing tides on the Earth. But with every tide cycle, the sloshing of Earth’s water exerts just a little bit of friction on the Earth’s surface, and it slows the planet’s rotation ever so slightly. Every time the Earth’s rotation slows the Moon moves a little bit further away.

Over time our day went from 6 to 24 hours and the Moon retreated to its current distance of about a quarter of a million miles. And all the while life on Earth adapted to a planet with a 24-hour day, tides, seasons, and an atmosphere whose wind patterns move east to west. Tidal friction could eventually slow the Earth significantly, and while the laws of physics won’t allow it to stop completely, but still, what would happen during the slow down?

This video, "Life on Earth has adapted to our 24 hour day, but the Earth’s spin is slowing down. What would it be like to live on an Earth that stops spinning?", first appeared on seeker.com.

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