The Moon has been moving away from the Earth for 4.5 billion years. This animated image from NASA shows how far the Moon has come from Earth. The Moon is moving away from the Earth at a rate of 3.78cm (1.48in) per year (at the same speed as our nails grow). This small difference will affect life on Earth for a sufficient period of time and slow down the planet. Changes in the Earth’s climate, such as tides, affect the Moon’s retreat.