Can you fall off the Moon?

Can you fall off the Moon? I heard that the Chinese are landing at the South Pole of the moon. Several hours later I pondered on that the moon doesn’t have much gravity. So if you went to the bottom could you actually fall off? Seriously just think about it for a moment.

We don’t fall off the earth because of gravity. The greater the mass an object has the more gravity it exerts around it. The best way to conceptualise this is to imagine a bowling ball on a trampoline. It bends the material and the space around it. If you were to put a grape on the trampoline it would roll towards the bowling ball. So would you fall off the Moon?

Here is the technical reason. The Moon’s surface gravity is about 1/6th as powerful or about 1.6 meters per second per second. The Moon’s surface gravity is weaker because it is far less massive than Earth. A body’s surface gravity is proportional to its mass, but inversely proportional to the square of its radius.

Flying Saucer
Flying Saucer

OK don’t worry we have done the maths for you. An astronaut weighing 150kg would not fall off the South Pole of the moon. Even if the spacesuit weighs 500kg. There is still enough mass in the moon so that the spaceman and his suit won’t fall off the bottom.

However this does not take into account other forces? What if the spaceman was at the bottom and jumped really hard? Surely a spaceman would fall off the south Pole of the moon? These are the thoughts that keep me awake at night.

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2 thoughts on “Can you fall off the Moon?

  • You’ve got all the numbers right. There’s only one problem with your question/hypothesis – there is no BOTTOM of the Moon. Like Earth, (and all spheres) gravity is relatively constant at all points on its surface. Gravitational force at the south pole would actually be greater, because of reduced centripetal (rotational) force. Even at a point where Earth was directly overhead, the distance/squared law means that its attraction is far too weak to cause a noticeable effect. You can’t “fall off” the moon at any point on its surface. 🙄

    • Thanks for your feedback. I think of loads of daft ideas during the night. I also wondered does the moon have a south Pole?

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