How Long to Walk to the Moon?

February 14, 2024

If you were to hop in a spaceship, suit up in a spacesuit and hop on the moon, how long would it take you to walk all the way around? That's the question that a Slashdot reader posed to us after reading a recent article from Science Alert.

As it turns out, the answer to this question depends on quite a few things. For starters, you'd need a suit that can protect you from radiation and extreme temperatures and allow you to move in the lunar gravity, which is only 17% of what you experience on Earth. You'd also need a huge supply of food, water and oxygen that you'd have to carry in your spacesuit. And, of course, you'd need a support vehicle to follow you with these supplies, which could double as shelter (as well as provide additional oxygen and nutrients for the trip).

During the Apollo missions astronauts bounced across the lunar surface at a casual 1.4 mph — which is not very fast, considering that they're supposed to be able to run on Earth. But a study in 2014 found that astronauts can actually walk much faster than that on the Moon, as long as their suits are flexible and they can swing their arms downward, which creates a pendulum effect that partially compensates for the lack of gravity.

With this in mind, we'll assume you can walk at a top speed of about 3.1 mph (5 km/h) for four hours a day and figure that it takes 547 days to walk the circumference of the moon (assuming your route isn't disrupted by miles of craters). It should be noted, however, that this is an unrealistically fast pace, given that you'd be wearing heavy, bulky, restrictive, uncomfortable suits.

Mission

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