How high can you jump on the Moon?

The gravitational field of the Moon at its surface only

162.2 cm/sec/sec
-----------------  = 0.16
983  cm /sec/sec
or about 1/6th of what we feel on the surface of Earth in terms of the acceleration of gravity, so this means that for the same energy expended, you should be able to jump about 6 times higher. I can jump about 20 inches, so that means on the Moon I could jump 6 x 20 = 120 inches or 10 feet straight up!

Of course as the Apollo 16 astronaut John Young demonstrates, you cannot jump easily on the moon with the massive spacesuit and environmental back pack added to your 'shirt sleave' mass. Although your weight is 1/6 what it is on Earth, you still have to work against the inertia of all that mass.Typically the suit plus backpack had a mass of 90 kilograms or nearly 200 pounds added to the astronauts own mass. Also, jumping on the moon with a spacesuit is a very scarry proposition because of the center-of-mass not being in the midplane of your body but shifted towards your back, making the balancing a very tricky maneuver.

Return to Dr. Odenwald's FAQ page at the Astronomy Cafe Blog.