We know that on the Moon in ~1/6 g the Apollo astronauts couldn't make full steps because they jumped with each step. At what surface gravity could you walk more like on Earth and at what gravity would you rather hop like on the Moon? Would walking on Mercury (0.377 g) and Mars (0.38 g) be more like on Earth, the Moon or something inbetween?

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ It was the inflexibility of the pressurized suit that caused the astronauts to jump instead of walk. They could do full steps on the Moon but jumping was easier. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Apr 28 at 13:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are you really sure? On parabolic flights in lunar gravity tourists jump similar to the Apollo astronauts. Although they jump up, I dunno of a video of such a flight where they can walk. $\endgroup$ – Guest55 Apr 28 at 13:49
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think this is actually a very interesting biomechanics question... Very approximately, a step involves providing a single force with a vertical component that counters weight and a horizontal component to move forward. However the horizontal force must be opposed by a frictional force, which is in turn dependent on the weight. I suspect there may be some lower limit where the weight can no longer allow for a 'recognisable' step. I also suspect there have been some good studies and simulations of this in the past for reference. $\endgroup$ – Jack Apr 28 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ What about links to videos of jumping tourists during parabolic flights in lunar gravity? The tourists might jump just to imitate astronauts on the moon. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Apr 28 at 17:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Watch the video, the astronauts did steps but also combined stepping with jumping. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Apr 29 at 12:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.