On 2002-06-21 09:36, DaveC wrote:
My apologies if this topic has been dealt with before, but:
The moon has an elliptical orbit and its rotation is tidally locked with the earth. I understood from something I saw some time back that the near side of the moon has a higher density than the far side - which is why that's the side facing the earth. I think there are things called mascons that make the near side more dense.
Here's ny question: Given that the elliptical orbit causes the moon to show a slightly different face to the earth as it orbits (that is it appears to rotate slightly clockwise and counterclockwise during a complete orbit), will the orbit eventually become circular as a result of the mascons and the effect of earth's gravity?
My question is based on the assumption that it takes some energy to repeatedly pull the mascons away from the gravitational force vector between the earth and the moon and the only source of that energy is the shape and size of the moons's orbit. Am I missing something?