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Author Topic: Why isn't there life on the moon?  (Read 8476 times)

Yasser

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« on: 20/07/2009 16:30:02 »
Yasser  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Naked Scientists,
 
If the Moon was formed from parts of Earth during it's creation, why is it that the Moon has not become a cradle of life, much like our planet? Surely the Moon must share some traits with planet Earth? Perhaps it is because life had not originated on Earth during the Moon's early stages of creation, and if so, is it too late for life to be transferred permanently onto the Moon's surface via a biosphere for example?
 
Best Regards,
Yasser, in Canada

What do you think?


 

Offline neilep

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #1 on: 20/07/2009 16:37:08 »
I think the fact that there's no atmosphere might have something to do with it. I assume the moon is also too small to maintain an atmosphere too...ie..not enough mass !

Unless i visit it of course !..then it becomes a fun filled place with oodles of atmosphere !
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #2 on: 20/07/2009 18:31:05 »
Two thirds of the earth's surface is covered in water. The moon's remarkably dry.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #3 on: 20/07/2009 22:59:43 »
It seems very likely that the presence of liquid water is essential for life this cannot exist on the surface of the moon because it is not big enough to maintain an atmosphere.  It is suggested that there may be solid water on cold areas near the moon's poles but I do not think that the internal temperature of the moon is high enough for liquid water to be present in deep shattered rocks under the surface.

If there was liquid water there It seems unlikely that even the simplest life could evolve in these conditions but however if simple bacteria survived for long periods in space there may be some single celled life deep in the moon rocks.
 

Offline Don_1

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #4 on: 21/07/2009 08:10:59 »
Although it might be that gaseous exchange may not be essential for ET life forms, I agree with Soul Surfer, that some form of liquid probably is.

Without a loose binding, the other elements which make up a body, would be just a pile of dust.

If any water does exist on the Moon, which I very seriously doubt, it would be beneath the surface and frozen solid, therefore, no good as a 'loose' binding.

Any surface water which may have existed on the Moon would have very quickly evaporated in the heat of the Sun. The Moon's weak gravitational force would have been insufficient to trap this water vapour, and it would have dissipated into space.
 

Offline LeeE

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #5 on: 21/07/2009 19:37:16 »
I'd be a little surprised if there is not some sort of bacteria on the Moon, but I doubt it could have evolved there.  One of the trickiest bits of developing life is making cell walls, which keep the constituent parts of the cell inside and stop them from simply dispersing, and this is much easier in a fluid medium where there's little difference between the medium inside the cell and the medium outside it.  In such a fluid medium the cell walls don't need to be especially strong, so flimsy and primitive/simple cell walls are adequate.  In dry or low pressure environments there's not only the issue of developing a cell wall strong/sophisticated enough to withstand the environment but also of the cell medium itself.  In a free space vacuum it might be possible for a cell to develop that has no internal medium at all; it would just contain it's constituent parts, floating in the vacuum, but such a cell would just collapse on the surface of a planet where it's internal parts would no longer be able to communicate or function with each other.
 

Offline AllenG

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #6 on: 22/07/2009 03:00:57 »
I assume the moon is also too small to maintain an atmosphere too...ie..not enough mass !
Titan has a quite dense atmosphere.

 

Offline Stefanb

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #7 on: 22/07/2009 06:45:19 »
Your question assumes, first of all, that the moon originated from the earth, accepting the generally accepted theory.
If that is the case, then the moon is made up of similar material as the earth (plus all the material brought by the various space objects that have pounded into it).
However, the moon lacks the mass to sufficiently press upon its core and continually heat itself- meaning that there is no iron core spinning in the center of the moon. This means that the moon lacks a magnetic field similar to the Earth's. It only has pockets of magnetism concentrated around where magnetic material lies inside the moon.
Because of this, it does not divert all the various and harmful rays that the sun blasts towards it. These rays prevent the moon from forming an atmosphere, making it extremely hard for water to collect on the moon's surface. Most life we are used to relies on water as fuel, and without it there usually isn't any life. Plus life usually needs gasses- which are not present on the moon due to its lack of atmosphere.
« Last Edit: 22/07/2009 17:46:52 by Stefanb »
 

Offline AllenG

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #8 on: 22/07/2009 22:12:45 »
Your question assumes, first of all, that the moon originated from the earth, accepting the generally accepted theory.
If that is the case, then the moon is made up of similar material as the earth (plus all the material brought by the various space objects that have pounded into it).
However, the moon lacks the mass to sufficiently press upon its core and continually heat itself- meaning that there is no iron core spinning in the center of the moon. This means that the moon lacks a magnetic field similar to the Earth's. It only has pockets of magnetism concentrated around where magnetic material lies inside the moon.
Because of this, it does not divert all the various and harmful rays that the sun blasts towards it. These rays prevent the moon from forming an atmosphere, making it extremely hard for water to collect on the moon's surface. Most life we are used to relies on water as fuel, and without it there usually isn't any life. Plus life usually needs gasses- which are not present on the moon due to its lack of atmosphere.

I don't think Venus has a magnetosphere.  What keeps its atmosphere intact?
Same for Titan, both of these bodies have thicker atmospheres than Earth's (atmospheric pressure on Titan is about the same as Earth's but with less gravity the atmosphere has to be thicker to have the same pressure).

« Last Edit: 22/07/2009 22:14:26 by AllenG »
 

Offline Flyberius

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #9 on: 22/07/2009 23:39:12 »
I assume the moon is also too small to maintain an atmosphere too...ie..not enough mass !
Titan has a quite dense atmosphere.



Its my understanding that Titan (as the name suggests) is rather large.  Also the moon lacks a magnetic field which is one of the things that keeps Earth's atmosphere "in".
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #10 on: 23/07/2009 19:58:19 »
"Also the moon lacks a magnetic field which is one of the things that keeps Earth's atmosphere "in". "

Hardly.
 

Offline LeeE

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #11 on: 24/07/2009 00:28:50 »
The Earth's magnetic field is believed to be a factor in maintaining our atmosphere, by diverting the solar wind around our planet before it can get close enough to directly affect our atmosphere.  The Venusian atmosphere is much denser than the Earth's, which is why it has been able to hang on to it despite having no magnetosphere and being closer to Sol.
 

Offline Stefanb

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #12 on: 24/07/2009 02:37:24 »


I don't think Venus has a magnetosphere.  What keeps its atmosphere intact?
Same for Titan, both of these bodies have thicker atmospheres than Earth's (atmospheric pressure on Titan is about the same as Earth's but with less gravity the atmosphere has to be thicker to have the same pressure).



Maybe Venus has only recently lost its magnetic field and the sun has not yet blasted away all the atmosphere yet...
Since our data is limited to very little relatively speaking, we cannot tell for sure.

And to others, the magnetic field diverts radiation that comes from the sun so it does not hit the planet. These rays diminish the amount of atmosphere, and over time can take away the atmosphere of a planet completely.
 

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Why isn't there life on the moon?
« Reply #12 on: 24/07/2009 02:37:24 »

 

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