From the vantage point on the earth, the moon looks very small. But if you want to jump on a spaceship, put on a space suit, and go on an epic lunar hike, how long does it take to walk around?
The answer depends on many factors, including how fast you walk, how much time you spend walking each day, and what detours you need to take to avoid dangerous terrain.
Such a trip moon It may take more than a year, but in fact, there are still many challenges to overcome.
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However, NASA research shows that human mobility on the moon may be much faster than Apollo astronauts. In theory, the speed of walking around the moon may be faster than previously expected.
According to NASA, during the Apollo mission, astronauts bounced around the ground at a speed of 1.4 mph (2.2 km/h). This slow speed is mainly due to its bulkiness, and the pressurized space suit was not designed with maneuverability in mind. If “Moonwalkers” were wearing sportswear, they might find it easier to move, and as a result, speed up their pace.
In 2014, a NASA study was published in Journal of Experimental Biology Tested how fast humans can walk and run under simulated lunar gravity. To this end, the team has eight participants (three of them are astronauts) using the treadmill on the DC-9 aircraft, which flies through a special parabolic trajectory on the earth, which can simulate the gravity on the moon at a time, the longest Up to 20 seconds.
The experiment showed that participants were able to reach a speed of 3.1 mph (5 km/h) before running. Researchers say this is not only more than twice the walking speed managed by Apollo astronauts, but also very close to the maximum maximum walking speed on Earth, which is an average speed of 4.5 miles per hour (7.2 mph).
Participants are so fast because they can wave their arms freely, similar to How humans run On Earth. This pendulum movement produces a downward force, which partially offsets the lack of gravity. One of the reasons that Apollo astronauts are so slow on the surface of the moon is because their clothes are too clumsy, which prevents them from performing this operation properly.
At this new assumed maximum speed, it would take approximately 91 days to reach the circumference of the moon of 6,786 miles (10,921 kilometers). For context, it takes approximately 334 days to walk around the 24,901 miles (40,075 kilometers) of the Earth’s circumference at this speed (that is, without stopping to sleep or eat), although it is impossible due to the ocean.
Obviously, it is impossible to walk for 91 consecutive days, so the actual walk around the moon will take longer.
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Walking around the moon also brings many different challenges. Aidan Cowley, a scientific adviser to the European Space Agency, told Life Sciences: “I think it can be done logically.” “But it will be a very strange task.”
One of the biggest challenges is transporting supplies such as water, food and food. oxygen.
Cowley said: “I don’t think you would put them in a backpack.” “Because even if you are under one-sixth of the gravity, its mass is too large.”
Therefore, Cowley said, you will need to carry an assistive tool with you. This car can also double as a shelter.
Cowley said: “Many agencies are considering the concept of a pressurized rover, which can actually support astronauts during exploration missions, just like a portable micro base.” “You can use it. Replenish at night, then return during the day and walk around again.”
Lunar adventurers also need to design a space suit that can achieve the best movement. Cowley said that the current spacesuits still do not take into account excessive movement, but some agencies are developing fitted suits to allow the necessary arm swings to walk normally on the moon.
The harsh terrain of the moon can also make finding a suitable route around the moon very difficult, especially when the meteor crater can be as deep as several miles. “You really want to walk around [the craters]Cowley said, “It’s too dangerous.”
When planning your route, you must also consider light and temperature. “At the equator [of the moon]And the temperature during the day is around 100 degrees Celsius [212 degrees Fahrenheit]Cowley said. “Then at night, the temperature dropped to minus 180 degrees Celsius. [minus 292 F]. “
The lunar cycle also means that there is little sunlight for a few days, or at least half of the journey must be completed in the dark. Specially designed protective clothing and mobile stations can be used to provide protection against these extreme temperatures, but temperature will also change the state of the tuff-the fine gray soil covering the solid bedrock of the moon-and affect the speed at which you can walk on it, Cowley Say.
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However, radiation may bring greater danger. Unlike the earth, the moon does not have a magnetic field to help deflect radiation to its surface.
Cowley said: “If there is no major solar activity at one time, then the situation may not be so bad.” “However, if there is a solar flare or coronal ejection and you are attacked by high levels of radiation, it may make you very, very sick. “(According to NASA, solar flares and coronal mass ejections both release large amounts of energy and magnetized particles, but the types of particles they emit, the duration of the event, and the way the radiation they generate pass through space vary.)
Due to the need to exercise the muscles and cardiovascular system under low gravity, this type of task also requires a lot of endurance training. Cowley said: “You have to send an astronaut with ultra-marathon fitness capabilities to do it.”
Cowley said that even then, walking at the fastest speed can only take about three to four hours a day. Therefore, if a person walks at a speed of 3.1 mph (5 km/h) for 4 hours a day, assuming that the path of the moon will not be too disturbed by craters, it is estimated that it will take about 547 days (or nearly 1.5 years) to walk on the moon. Circle and you can deal with temperature changes and radiation.
However, Cowley said that humans will not have the technology or equipment to accomplish this feat until at least the late 2030s or early 2040s.
Cowley said: “You will never get an organization to support such a thing.” “But if some crazy billionaire wants to try it, maybe they can do it.”
Originally published in “Life Science”.