Earthers wish to change the Moon's orbit in order to adjust the length of a lunar month. They intend to do this by giving the Earth and the Moon equal electrostatic charges thereby pushing them further apart and slowing the orbital period.

By what plausible cosmological phenomenon could these charges be applied? Is it even possible in theory?


2 Answers 2


Say there existed a log scale slider control able to control net charge from zero to infinity on the Earth Moon system.

As the slider was slid up from zero, well before there was sufficient charge to apply say 1 nN of force to the earth moon.system there would be ridiculous amount of 'interesting' chemistry going on. The interesting chemistry would include extermination of all life. interesting chemistry because the charge density will be high enough to start ionizing of all material.

Extermination of all life would be counter productive to the whole civilization thing that was trying to do this operation in the first place.

A plausible phenomenon to make this occur would be being hit by a magnetar surge.

Having such high charge imbalance is very unstable. This is possible in theory the same way as 1000 tosses in a row of a fair coin all turn up heads.

tldr: No, self defeating.

Well before there is sufficient force to cause shift of a lunar month in a sub decade time frame, life will be exterminated.


Not possible (and probably harmful)

Earth already has a net electric charge (so does the Moon). The Earth behaves like a spherical condenser, and does so at several different "layers" (mainly in the atmosphere).

Changing the charge in these layers would be extremely difficult, because it implies shooting the opposite charges far enough in space (and not acquiring neutralizing charges from the interplanetary medium), and if you succeeded, then you'd disrupt the equilibrium in the whole ecosphere, that has evolved with a total current of about 1800 ampere. You'd get wild atmospheric phenomenons, and increase atmospheric depletion, which would likely trigger a Kessler Syndrome catastrophe (not immediately, granted, but still).

It looks way easier to equip the Moon with an Orion propulsor, or maybe try and push it away using 9.7-micron lasers to trigger plumes on the Lunar surface (9.7-micron to minimize energy loss and atmospheric disruption on the Earth and maximize energy transfer to the Moon). Even then, the problem remains that the energy requirements would be terrifying; and the consequences of laser-accelerating the Moon to just one millionth of a G are enough to wreck the planet.

Another possibility would be to bombard the Moon with Apollo-class asteroidal fragments to increase its kinetic energy. Most of the energy in that case would come from the asteroids themselves. This endeavour also looks quite fraught with risks, for different reasons (you'd be one near miss away from a possible Chicxulub event).


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .