Emily Bazelon discovers that the moon's a lot more valuable than she thought:

Brian Crosby, an astrophysicist, points out that we on Earth rely on the moon in the most basic ways: "First, without the moon, terrestrial life on Earth likely wouldn't exist, as the lack of tides and tidal zones would have deprived the planet of a necessary transition point for life from the ocean to pass onto dry ground. Second, without the moon to stabilize the axis of rotation of the Earth, precession would regularly leave half the planet constantly exposed to the sun and half constantly in shadow. The environmental havoc would [be] immense, if not catastrophic to life."

The rest of the piece is a nice short primer on why anyone should care about astronomy. Worth a click.