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It sounds like something from an Austin Powers movie, the kind of bizarre plan that Dr Evil would hatch.

But a plot to blow up the actual Moon is a genuine proposal that was once put forward by a university professor.

That’s right - Alexander Abian, a mathematics professor at Iowa State University, thought that blasting it to smithereens with a nuclear weapon could solve a bunch of Earthly problems.

The Moon is mixed up in all sorts of stuff - it controls ocean currents and the tide, affects the weather to an extent, and alters the Earth’s tilt.

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But Prof Abian went full blue-sky thinking when he asked: Do we really need it?

He put forward this Moonless Earth Theory in 1991 in a campus newspaper, which was recently resurfaced from the People archives by science news site IFL Science.

He urged experts to drill a huge hole on the moon, stuff it with an atomic bomb, then detonate it by remote control.

He reckoned he was this generation's Galileo: "I am raising the petulant finger of defiance to the solar organization for the first time in 5 billion years. Those critics who say ‘Dismiss Abian’s ideas’ are very close to those who dismissed Galileo.”

Although with that kind of language, we're wondering just how tongue-in-cheek his plan was...

The benefits, he said, would be the elimination of seasons which would put a stop to weather events like hurricanes, floods, wildfires and blizzards.

It all sounds quite appealing - but unfortunately, NASA boffins reckon the big downside is that a big chunk of blown-up Moon could slam into Earth and kill off all human life.

So on balance, probably best to skip it.

It's not the only big idea people have proposed for our brightly shining neighbor - according to a strange report by neoliberal think tank the Adam Smith Institute, the satellite should be divided into parcels of land and assigned to different countries to rent out to businesses, boosting the economy.

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