One of the most fascinating things about the evolution of life on Earth is its connection to the sky above. Only under the most precise conditions could tiny molecules have burst forth into life, and those conditions would not have been the same if our solar system lacked its current configuration. If there were only small differences in the orbits or locations of our Moon, the Sun or the surrounding planets, Earth might today be a cold, dead planet, and none of us would ever have existed.
The Sun is of course the most influential presence in our solar system. Without its immense and nearly timeless capacity to pour out enormous quantities of heat and light, the section of space we occupy would have been perpetually trapped in temperatures approaching absolute zero.
But the Moon plays a tremendously important role in mediating conditions on Earth as well. The Moon is not simply a spectator dragged along by our gravitational pull, but an active participant in Earth’s geological and biological development. Just as parents and children help shape each other, so, too, do the Moon and the Earth act as co-creators of the interconnected Earth-Moon system.
Without the Moon, occupying its current position and orbit, life may never have appeared on the Earth billions of years ago.