was amazingly right about some things. He made it possible to view
heavenly bodies as solid, physical objects. His idea that the Moon
was flung off the Earth could be regarded as the first articulation
of the 'fission theory' which George Darwin would revive in the
nineteenth century. And his intuition of a connection between the
Moon and meteorites foreshadowed the work of Gene Shoemaker and
Harold Urey in the twentieth century.
Other philosophers followed Anaxagoras' example in
regarding the Moon as a 'miniature Earth', and even broached the
subject of extra-terrestrial life. Philolaus, a Pythagorean thinker,
believed the Moon had animals and plants that were fifteen times
larger than those on Earth, presumably proportionate to the difference
between an Earth day and a Lunar day, Lunar days being the same
as a terrestrial month.
However, the idea that the firmament could be polluted
by Earthly substance horrified later Greek philosophers like Socrates,
Plato and Aristotle, who continued to regard the Moon as a divine
being, and the surprisingly modern approach of some of the earlier
Greek 'physici' was all but lost.