The Birth of the Moon

An intriguing documentary has caught my eye with its slick teaser trailer.

We like the moon. Because it is close to us.

I can’t wait to see this doc when it’s out. I’ve had a long-standing love affair with the moon and its effects on our planet. I’ve posted quite a bit about it in the past, a number of times in fact.

Apparently, Cosmic Journeys has a number of such documentaries online, each about half an hour minus commercial time, making it ripe for syndication to a real network. Why nobody’s picked this up to fill a time slot somewhere is completely beyond me. They’re slickly produced, engaging, have an excellent narrator, and are completely free. And they’re about one of the most engaging and important topics we as humans could ever study: the universe itself, on a macroscopic scale far beyond our transient and provincial lives.

Life may not depend on planet having a large moon

Via Universe Today, some news regarding the long-held belief that a stable axial tilt requires a large enough moon to provide stabilization — a study suggests it’s less necessary than previously believed.

Ever since a study conducted back in 1993, it has been proposed that in order for a planet to support more complex life, it would be most advantageous for that planet to have a large moon orbiting it, much like the Earth’s moon. Our moon helps to stabilize the Earth’s rotational axis against perturbations caused by the gravitational influence of Jupiter. Without that stabilizing force, there would be huge climate fluctuations caused by the tilt of Earth’s axis swinging between about 0 and 85 degrees.

But now that belief is being called into question thanks to newer research, which may mean that the number of planets capable of supporting complex life could be even higher than previously thought.

Anything that widens the scope of potential planets where life might have arisen is welcome news. We’re finding new exoplanets every damn day nowadays, so the search for extraterrestrial life-harboring planets is simply a matter of time, I’m willing to wager.

RCimT: a quick science news roundup

Welcome to the first Random Crap in my Tabs posted to Freethought Blogs! Every once in a while, my browser’s tabs get far too full of “stuff that must be blogged”, stuff that I figured was too interesting to just read and close, and in order to free up resources so I can do other things, once in a while I aggregate a bunch of similarly themed items into a post with links and short commentary. It’s something like a blog carnival, but usually to non-bloggy stuff.

This one’s about some sciencey bits and bobs, and it’s all over the map. Allons-y!
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