What would it be like to cycle on the moon?

19 April 2009

Question

What would it be like to cycle on the moon?

Answer

Dave - There are a couple of differences between the moon and the Earth. One of them is that there's no atmosphere so you could cycle far faster and wouldn't get slowed down by air resistance. The other big difference is gravity. Gravity on the moon is about a sixth as strong on the moon as it is on the Earth. As far as I can work out basically that means if you're cycling on the moon at 20 miles an hour it's the equivalent to cycling on the Earth six times faster but in slow motion. So it would be the equivalent of cycling on the earth at 120 miles an hour but in slow motion. Chris - I don't get that, what do you mean?

Dave - If you were cycling on Earth at 120 miles an hour and hit a small bump you're going to fly up into the air. The same thing would happen on the moon but at 20 miles an hour if you hit any bumps you'd fly up into the air. Chris - You'd do that thing like in ET where he bicycles in the air. You'd just have your feet going round on the pedals? But you'd go farther for quite a while?

Dave - For quite a while, the same sort of distance if you were doing 120 miles an hour. Also if you're doing 120 miles an hour and you're trying to turn around a sharp corner you wouldn't have as much grip so you'd slide and fall over. The same thing would happen on the moon: there's less gravity so there's less friction so if you tried to go round a corner at 20 miles an hour you're going to have to do it very gently otherwise you'd slip and fall over.

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