The moon could be on a collision course with Earth
Eventually the Moon and Earth will collide in an event that will be catastrophic for both celestial bodies.
Currently, the Moon is actually moving away from the Earth at an average rate of 3.8 centimetres a year.
However, experts are warning that the lunar satellite will eventually hurtle towards Earth.
As a result of tidal friction – the way that the Moon’s gravitational pull tugs on our oceans, what causes tides – the Moon will slowly begin to move Earth-bound.
The moon is currently drifting away from Earth
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Jason Barnes, a planetary scientist at the University of Idaho, told Forbes: “The final end-state of tidal evolution in the Earth-Moon system will indeed be the inspiral of the Moon and its subsequent collision and accretion onto Earth.”
The Earth’s rotation will eventually slow down to match the orbital period of the moon, and when that happens, the planet’s gravitational pull will tug on the lunar satellite, meaning that it will slowly begin drifting towards us.
The event is not likely to happen for another 65 billion years, however
Mr Barnes continued: “Eventually, [the Moon] would get so close that it would spiral inward, dissipating its orbital kinetic energy in a spectacular collision and merger with the Earth.”
However, the scientist adds that this is not likely to happen for another 65 billion years.
It is not likely that the moon and Earth will survive the sun's red giant phase
By that point the Sun will have reached its red giant phase – the end of its life where it will expand, engulfing most of the solar system – which is due to happen in the next five or six billion years.
Scientists doubt very much that the Earth and Moon will survive this phase, with both either being burnt to a crisp or propelled outwards into the universe.