As a result of the moon's gradual drift away from Earth, scientists have found that the length of days on our planet is increasing.
NASA reports that scientists no longer believe the previously held assumption that the Earth's natural satellite remains at a fixed distance from Earth due to gravitational pull.
The connection between the Earth and the moon is progressively weakening, leading to a slower rotation of our planet and longer days.
Researchers have conducted a recent study indicating that the moon used to be much closer to the Earth, and they have found that the proximity of the moon to Earth correlates with shorter days on our planet.
Scientists believe that around 1.4 billion years ago, a day on Earth lasted only 18 hours, which is considerably shorter than the 24-hour days we experience in the current era.
"As the moon moves away, the Earth is like a spinning figure skater who slows down as they stretch their arms out," says Professor Stephen Meyers, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"One of our ambitions was to use Astrochronology to tell time in the most distant past, to develop very ancient geological time scales," he continued. "'We want to be able to study rocks that are billions of years old in a way that is comparable to how we study modern geologic processes."
Astrochronology is a scientific approach that combines astronomical theory with geological observation. Professor Meyers, who co-authored the study, collaborated with his team to investigate the history of Earth and reconstruct the appearance of the solar system from the past.
According to reports, Professor Meyers and his team discovered the climate cycles of Earth by examining sediments from a rock formation dating back 90 million years, a study conducted last year.
Based on the research findings, it is evident that the moon is currently moving away from the Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches (3.82 centimeters) per year. Consequently, as the moon continues to recede, we can anticipate longer days on Earth.
Scientists have concluded that at one point, the moon would have been so near to Earth that the gravitational interactions between the two would have caused the moon to be torn apart.
Co-author of the study, Professor Alberto Malinvero, stated that: "'It was exciting because, in a way, you dream of this all the time; I was a solution looking for a problem.'"
It is essential to note that scientists are aware of the fact that the moon has been in existence for 4.5 billion years, and as a result, their calculations may be somewhat imprecise. Nevertheless, the conclusion that the length of days on Earth is increasing remains definitive.