How Long Would It Take to Walk Across the Moon?

February 14, 2024

The moon is a fascinating celestial object that has inspired many to dream about exploring it. However, it is a challenging prospect. The lack of a breathable atmosphere means that a hiker would have to bring oxygen, and there is also the danger of stepping on micrometeorites or other debris. The temperature can range from 260 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to -280 degrees Fahrenheit at night, and the lack of atmosphere also exposes astronauts to harmful radiation.

During the Apollo missions, astronauts bounced around the lunar surface at a casual 1.4 mph (2.2 km/h). This slow speed was mainly due to their clunky, pressurized spacesuits that were not designed with mobility in mind. If the "moonwalkers" had sported sleeker suits, they might have been able to pick up the pace.

In a 2014 study, NASA scientists tested how fast humans could walk in simulated lunar gravity. They got eight participants to use a treadmill aboard a DC-9 aircraft that used special parabolic trajectories on Earth to simulate the effect of lunar gravity for up to 20 seconds at a time. The participants were able to reach a walking speed of 3.1 mph (5 km/h), which is more than double the maximum speed managed by Apollo astronauts. This is possible because the participants were able to swing their arms like people do when they run on Earth. This pendulum-like motion creates a downward force that partially compensates for the lunar gravity.

Mission

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