Ethan at Scienceblogs offers five things the Moon does for us, including one we mightn’t have considered, including:
Nights would be much, much darker than we’re used to.
If you’ve ever been outside in the wilderness on a totally moonless night, without any artificial light, you probably noticed two things. First, the night sky is absolutely breathtaking; you can see thousands upon thousands of stars, the plane of the Milky Way, and even dozens of extended, deep-sky objects with your naked eye alone. And second, you can’t see a damned thing in front of your own face.
We have pretty decent night vision, so long as the Moon is out. But without it, our night vision is, well, not very effective, as anyone who’s been camping without a headlamp or working flashlight can testify. It’s probably safe to say that vision would have evolved somewhat differently without the Moon, and that our nights would provide us with a wildly different world to experience.
It sure would be. A world in which, for many hours on end, the things we can see are of no significance to us—and we couldn’t see anything that is. Until someone invented torches and lamps, but even so … .
Note: The moon is not just an ornament, but still, if you want something to read your kid to sleep with, try The Owl and the Pussycat:
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Okay, more science content? Here’s an astonishing actual owl-cat friendship:
Not enough science content, you say? You are just prejudiced against cats. (You can’t be prejudiced against owls because that would be politically incorrect. So you must be prejudiced against cats.)