Three astronomers have discovered yet another of the many delicate balances operating in our solar system, balances that protect life on this planet.
Their investigation of planetary resonances (the intensification of gravitational effects resulting from orbital patterns and repeated, regular planetary alignments) indicates that without an Earth-Moon system just like ours, the solar system’s inner planets (planets between Jupiter and the sun) would be destabilized by the huge and intensifying push-pull of Jupiter and Saturn in their orbits.1 Our massive, single moon locked in orbit with our even more massive Earth “interferes” with the “whip effect” caused by Jupiter and Saturn, which may be likened to heavy stones in a whirling slingshot.
The team is still analyzing the extent of the damage that would be done, but already they have learned that it would send Venus and Mercury either smashing into the sun or whizzing—perhaps catastrophically close to Earth—clear out of the system altogether. Mars would be impacted as well, but ongoing research will have to tell us by how much. Even if the disruptions to these planets’ orbits were less profound, they would result in a destabilization of the entire system, including Earth, and the effects on life would be major. Living creatures of any complexity cannot withstand even a 1% variation in Earth’s orbital pattern.
In the words of the three astronomers, “ Design in the solar system [is needed] to ensure long-term stability”2 (emphasis added). Once again, a deeper understanding of the solar system amplifies the evidence for God’s purposeful, powerful involvement in shaping both the Earth and the solar system.3
- Kimmo Innanen, Seppo Mikkola, and Paul Wiegert, “The Earth-Moon System and the Dynamical Stability of the Inner Solar System,” Astronomical Journal, 116 (1998), pp. 2055-2057.
- Innanen, Mikkola, and Wiegert, p. 2057.
- Ross, pp. 137-138.