Watch your step on those exoplanets
Posted December 9, 2011on:
Lots of things have been jumbling around in my mind this week. Such as:
I caught a rerun of a 2008 Mythbusters episode where they debunked the myth that the 1969 Moon landing was faked. I loved the scene where Adam was hopping around in his space suit.
Reading Scott Lynch’s Queen of the Iron Sands that features an earthling being thrilled how far she can jump on Mars, because the gravity is lower.
Reminiscing about my love for physics and rollercoaster mechanics with a retired physics professor, while discussing many other wonderful things (if he’s reading this, he knows who he is).
Tor’s Exoplanet article.
What do all of those things have in common? they all have to do with gravity and planets and physics and everything that’s fun in the universe! So much science (fictional) fun to be had here! and a little bit of silliness, of course. I suddenly feel like an 8 year old who just discovered an astrophysics encyclopedia!
What would roller coasters and bungee jumping be like on the Moon? Maybe we’d need magnets to get the thrill of falling.
Speaking of falling, if you were born and raised on a planet with lower gravity, might you never develop a fear of falling?
If your planet had two (or more) suns, would you need extra sunblock?
Would people grow taller on planets with lower gravity? How many generations would it take for the mutation to “take” in humans? Would plants grow taller? would their roots not go as deep into the ground?
How would changes in gravity affect waterfalls and water erosion?
How would multiple moons affect ocean tides?
How would different gravities affect fashion? Something I read recently (I think it was Anderson’s Bitter Angels), talked about how on a lower gravity planet people used weights in their clothes as fashion accessories, and the poor tied or sewed rocks into the hems of their clothing. What about shoes? What about hair styles? And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not be wearing a Star Trek Unitard.
Sometimes the most important thing is coming up with the questions.