Distance of the Moon

Museum of the Moon in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in 2018I mentioned a few weeks ago about tectonic plate movement [see ‘The hills are shadows, and they flow from form to form and nothing stands‘ on February 9th, 2022].  The plate on which my house sits is moving eastwards at about the same speed as my fingernails are growing, i.e., a couple of centimetres each year, and that is about the same rate at which the Moon is receding from the Earth. When the Moon was formed about 4.5 billion years ago from debris floating around the Earth, its orbit had a time-averaged distance from the Earth of about 38,500 kilometres so a tenth of its current distance from the Earth. Of course, there was no one around to see it this close to Earth but in my imagination it reminds me of Italo Calvino’s story, the Distance of the Moon, in which it is possible to sail a boat out to sea and use a ladder to climb from the boat to the Moon.

The Distance of the Moon was published as part of the Cosmicomics about which I have written before. See: ‘Man, the Rubbish Maker‘ on October 26th, 2016;  ‘Will it all be over soon?‘ on November 2nd, 2016; and ‘Only the name of the airport changes‘ on June 12th, 2019.


Italo Calvino, The Complete Cosmicomics, London: Penguin Books, 2002.


Image: Museum of the Moon in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in 2018.

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