Don’t worry, it will still be a long time before you have to wave the moon goodbye. But it has been discovered that the moon is slowly inching away from our home planet at a rate of 3.8cm per year.
It was earlier assumed that the moon, Earth’s only natural satellite revolving around our planet, is at a constant distance away due to the gravitational pull of Earth.
However, a new discovery by NASA suggests that the moon is slowly drifting away into the emptiness of space.
But why is the moon drifting away from the Earth? Experts believe that it has to do with ‘Milankovitch cycles’, which describe the tiny diversion in the shape of Earth’s orbit, its axis and its impacts on the amount of sunlight received on Earth.
The cycles and frequencies of these cycles determine the distance between the Moon and Earth, as the moon was reportedly 60,000km closer to Earth around 2.46 billion years ago.
The small changes in the cycles change the amount of sunlight the planet receives, with scientists researching old sediment so that they can measure Earth’s wobble and figure out how far the moon was from the planet.
The discovery reportedly came due to reflective panels installed on the Moon back in 1969 during the Apollo mission, which has allowed NASA to measure the distance.