The Earth may lose the Moon, and the latter may turn into a new planet, just like Mercury, once a moon of Venus, did, Central Machine Building Research Institute General Director Gennady Raikunov told Interfax-AVN at the Paris Air Show 2011 in Le Bourget. According to Gennady Raykunov, General Director of the Central Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering, the Moon may eventually leave the Earth’s orbit and become an independent planet. In this case, the Earth will turn into a lifeless desert.

“There is a theory that Mercury was a Venus’ moon once but drifted away at some point and became an independent planet. We know that the Moon moves farther from the Earth each year and will leave the Earth [orbit] at some point if the reverse process does not happen,” he said.

“Can it be so that the Earth shares the Venus lot and develops an aggressive atmosphere, a huge pressure, a green house effect and other factors lethal for living organisms?” he wondered.

The academic community believes that Venus, the Earth and Mars had similar starting conditions but developed in different ways. Space research will help understand whether the Moon’s departure can change the Earth environment and whether it is possible to prevent the negative events, he said.

Now the Moon moves around Earth in an orbit close to the elliptical, counter-clockwise (as viewed from the North Pole) with an average speed of 1.02 kilometers per second. In fact, the movement of our natural satellite is a fairly complex process influenced by various disturbances caused by the attraction of the sun, planets and the Earth’s oblate shape. How likely is the scenario proposed by Raykunov?

However, Sergei Popov, a researcher with the State Astronomical Institute of the Moscow State University of Sternberg (SAI), confirmed that the Moon is really moving away from Earth, but very slowly – the removal rate is approximately 38 millimeters per year. “In several billion years period the Moon will rise by 150 percent, and that’s all,” said Popov. “The Moon cannot completely go away. It does not have energy resources to escape.”

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