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Thread: Tidal Locking Dynamics of the Earth & Moon System

  1. #1 Tidal Locking Dynamics of the Earth & Moon System 
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    Oct 2017
    San Francisco, CA
    It is observed that the same side of the moon always faces the earth.

    Suppose I run computer simulations of orbiting bodies with the same orbital parameters and mass-distributions as the earth-moon system, and 2 of these simulations have altered orbital parameters called A and B.

    Both A and B simulations are altered such that the moon spins on its axis more quickly by a factor of 1.01, instead of being tidally locked. In other words moons A & B have greater angular velocity.

    In simulation A the mass of the moon is decreased by a factor of 0.9 but the mass distribution remains unchanged. In simulation B the mass and mass distribution remain unchanged.

    Will orbital dynamics lead lower mass moon A or original mass moon B to win the race to become tidally locked (causing the same side of the moon to again permanently face the earth)?

    Last edited by devin-m; January 26th, 2018 at 12:19 PM.
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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    As per this wikipedia:, Given that all other factors remain unchanged, the lower mass moon would win the race.

    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone

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