What of… Moon was made of gold?
This question which appeared at the Quora portal gathered a number of expert opinions. Let’s check them out!
So, let's imagine that the Earth's satellite turns into a huge sphere of solid gold. What changes and consequences will this cause?
The Moon will weigh 7 times more than usual
Considering the high density of gold – 19.32 g/cm3 compared to Moon’s of 3.34 g/cm3 – the satellite will get considerably heavier, but will still be less than the mass of the Earth. In total, it will be about 10% of the total weight of our planet and equal to approximately 422 sextillions kilogram.
Moon’s gravity will increase significantly
If radius stays the same while the mass increases, the gravity on the surface will lift proportionally. It will even exceed the gravity of the Earth. Astronauts will have to conceptually change all life support systems and spacesuits so that to be able to move normally.
The Moon's velocity will be much higher
The speed of the Moon's rotation around the Earth averages 1.02 km/s. If made of gold, the Moon would accelerate its velocity by more than 6 km per second. Even though being fairly lower than the Earth's, it will create additional difficulties for landing and taking-off from the surface.
Tides, floods, earthquakes… many surprises await
It will be a huge downside of the new gold Moon. If distance to it stays the same and its mass increases dramatically, the tidal pool will grow much stronger. You can easily multiply the current figures by 7: about as many times higher and more active the water of the world ocean will get. The coastal regions will experience severe flooding and, possibly, will be even devastated; seismic activity will also be much more intense than the current one. One won’t get bored for sure!
It will look very impressive
Of course, the smooth surface of the metal is much better at reflecting the light than soil, namely, in 8 times. So, the Moon will shine in the sky 8 times brighter, taking into account the reflections from each crater, hill and hollow. Most likely, the Moon will turn heads even during the day!
Countries will fight for the gold satellite
Given that the Moon does not officially belong to anyone, many world powers will definitely decide to annex it. Wars and aggression in an attempt to get their share of the treasure are more than likely to happen.
Space tourism will not enter a new era
Of course, everyone will want to head off to the Moon to get some gold. But mind the nuances. The entire structure of the Moon will be replaced by one metal: water, carbon, minerals and other compounds will disappear, which will complicate building processes and organizing conditions for existence there. Moreover, some people believe that the surface of the Moon will be heated so much that it will be impossible to even step on it.
Sending gold to Earth will have a different set of challenges. On the one hand, all profits can be ruined by transportation costs. But on the other hand, if this issue get resolved, gold will flood the markets and its prices will fall.
Well, certainly, the Moon cannot turn into a golden ball with a wave of a wand, so we all can sleep peacefully. Especially if we take care of your own gold reserves which do not require any magic to build!