For nearly the entire 4.5 billion year history of our Solar System, the Earth hasn’t been alone while we revolve around the Sun. Our giant lunar companion is larger and more massive than any other moon when compared to the planet it orbits. When it’s in its full phase, it brightly illuminates the night, and the Moon has been linked throughout history to phenomena such as insanity (or lunacy), animal behavior (howling at the moon), farming (a harvest moon), and even women’s menstrual cycles. While those links don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny, there are many ways the Moon actually does affect the Earth. Destroying it would be a catastrophe, but would also change our world forever in some incredibly interesting ways.

1.) Destroying the Moon would send debris to Earth, but it might not be life-exterminating. Imagine a weapon so deadly it could gravitationally unbind the Moon, blowing it apart. It would take a medium-sized asteroid’s worth of antimatter to do it (about a kilometer in diameter), and the debris would spread out in all directions. If the blast were weak enough, the debris would re-form into one or more new moons; if it were too strong, there would be nothing left; of just the right magnitude, and it would create a ringed system around Earth. Over time, those lunar fragments would de-orbit thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, creating a series of impacts.