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No. 56: Mar-Apr 1988

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Large moon essential to the development of life?

Even before its well known effect on romance, our moon was the key to the development of life on earth, according to J. Pearson. He ventures that our ponderous moon (much larger than the moons of Mars) was the key to the melting of the earth's core via tidal friction. With a fluid core, the earth developed a strong magnetic field (much stronger than those of the other inner planets) through dynamo action. This field protected nascent life from space radiation -- and here we are! (Hecht, Jeff; "Lunar Link with Life on Planets," New Scientist, p. 40, January 21, 1988.)

Comment. Current scientific opinion declares that the moon was captured by the earth -- a rather rare astronomical event. The capture of a very large moon would be even rarer. From this shaky chain of thoughts, we conclude that life in the universe must be exceedingly scarce. However, such long chains of inferences are usually found to be far off the mark.

From Science Frontiers #56, MAR-APR 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987