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Interactive video lesson plan for: Lunar Cataclysm - The Man in the Moon

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Around 4 billion years ago a chance alignment of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn changes the shape of their orbits. This creates a slingshot effect, hurling asteroids towards the inner Solar System, straight towards Earth, and the young Moon. For millions of years asteroids bombard the entire inner solar system. This period of intense bombardment is called the Late Heavy Bombardment, or Lunar Cataclysm.

Today the moon is a distant body that does little more than light up the night sky. But when it first formed it was far closer to Earth and its gravity was felt far stronger on our planet. As the moon has slowly spiralled away from Earth, it has reshaped our world, creating our days and night, our seasons, our ocean tides and even primitive life. Some scientists believe that even today its gravity is powerful enough to trigger natural disasters, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and could even influence human behaviour.

Clip taken from the Naked Science documentary “Moon Mysteries”.

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