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September 2017

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reject reality

Designing Cultures

Wolf has "hired" me as a consultant on one of his projects. ("hired" is quotes because any payment is dependent on the project making money.) He tells me what sort of culture he wants to end up with and I tell him what conditions would create that sort of culture. I can't talk about specifics for the project but there are some general prinicples that I have been thinking about.

One idea I was exploring was how many moons a planet should have. What are the implications of having no moon? The biggest effect I'm concerned with is evolution. Without a moon there would only be, much smaller, solar tides. This would mean a smaller tidal margin and fewer tidal pools. If life first develops in tidal pools lack of moons would delay the creation of life. If life develops near hydrothermal vents that would not be effected. But either way a smaller tidal margin and fewer tidal pools would delay the movement of life from the water to the land. To have a really vibrant, Earthlike, land based ecosystem you need at least one moon. Multiple moons might cancel each other out. And then there is the size issue. Small moons don't produce big tides.

But it's nice to know that even without a moon there would be solar tides. Makes me think that life is more probable.

Wow! We have a really great planet for life... but I suppose that is self evident, since we are here.

Comments

Back in the olden days when Isaac Asimov was alive and writing a monthly science column, he did two back-to-back, "The Tragedy of the Moon" was all about how the fact that the moon clearly orbits the earth gave the Ptolemaic model credibility longer than it should have... and how awesomely different things might have turned out if, say, Venus had a moon large enough to see before the invention of the telescope.

The next month he wrote "The Triumph of the Moon" which dealt with the tidal margin speeding up the spread of life to land... and several other things. I don't remember what else he identified with it.

Both are collected in one of the non-fiction anthologies, titled "The Tragedy of the Moon." I should find it and re-read...
Yeah, the social effects of the moon are more complicated. There is the whole calendar thing. There is the effect of tides and moonlight on life cycles. And being able to see at night, but not too much and not always.