the Little Red Reviewer

Watch your step on those exoplanets

Posted on: December 9, 2011

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.

8 Responses to "Watch your step on those exoplanets"

Hi! Just wanted to thank you for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment on my Game of Thrones post. 🙂

I think its great that you’re very interested in science! Science intrigues me but to be honest I couldn’t probably have come up with some of the questions that you posted here. 🙂


being a science fiction nerd means coming up with crazy questions like this is second nature.


The gravity issue is present in Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter of Mars. One of the reasons he immediately becomes a hero upon arrival is his ability to jump tremendous distances and his great strength, brought about by the differences between Earth and Mars gravity. Those stories are too fun!

I’d love to be able to do some sort of simulator where you could run around a room that is set to the moon’s gravity. Playing lazer tag in that kind of environment would be awesome. One of the reasons I really miss having a gaming PC is that I would take Unreal Tournament and go to one particular map, which had two floating platforms, and I would turn the gravity way down and play death matches against the bots. It was tremendous fun to leap huge distances and just float down, all while raining down fire upon one’s enemies.


I know Lynch was very inspired by the John Carter stories.

Lazer tag in low G would be incredible! I haven’t done Unreal Tournament, but I’m wondering about doing Wii Sports in low G? and now my brain has suddenly gone all Ender’s Game. . .


And of course Heinlein in Moon is a Harsh Mistress points out the um pneumatic possibilities for women’s clothing and movement generally. Being a guy he didn’t say much about implications for male garments, but that doesn’ have to stop us.


“pneumatic possibilities” . . LOL!
It’s been ages since I read Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but as it’s one of my favorite Heinlein’s, I’ll be reading it during January vintage month. BTW, thanks for stopping by! 😀


It’s what’s getting me to the treadmill right now. Everything I know about organizing a revolution I learned from Heinlein. January is vintage month? I’m in.


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