Earth’s Gravitational Pull Also Affects Moon

Earth’s Gravitational Pull Also Affects Moon

Gravitational forces between the earth and the moon have effect on both our planet and its companion satellite, claim scientists. It is a known fact that tides in ocean of earth rise high because of the direct effect of the moon's gravity. But scientists have found that the same effects also take place on the moon because of the earth's gravitational pull.

Due to gravitational force of earth, the moon distorts into egg-like shapes. However, it is very difficult for scientists to study tidal forces on the moon because the body has a small core and is gravitationally locked to earth. There is one hemisphere of the moon that permanently faces the earth and that is why it becomes even more difficult to study tidal forces of earth on the moon.

It is indeed challenging to measure the deformation of the moon due to Earth's pull, but scientists will get to know a lot about the interior of the moon through its study, said Erwan Mazarico, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Researchers studied data available from a pair of NASA missions on gravitational forces between the bodies that affect our planetary companion.

Also, they examined the data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). It was found that tidal forces from the earth on the moon can result into rise of the lunar surface by 20 inches, regardless of whether or not the sides face the earth.

"If nothing changed on the moon - if there were no lunar body tide or if its tide were completely static - then every time scientists measured the surface height at a particular location, they would get the same value", said Mike Barker co-author of the new study in a NASA press release.