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Question:
We are trying to figure out how high a person could jump or how far a golf ball would go on other planets. We have the % of Earth's gravity of other planets, but we are befuddled about translating that into distances, or approximate distances. For instance, a planet with 38% or 254% of Earth's gravity.



Replies:
Take the percentages of gravity, make it a decimal (divide by 100) and divide the earth distance by that decimal. As an example, a golf shot that traveled 100 yards on earth will travel 300 yards on a planet with 33% the gravity of earth.

Some background:

The distance a projectile will go on another [or any] planet (assuming exactly the same angle of launch and initial speed) depends directly on the time it spends in the air and that depends upon the gravity. Halve the gravity and spend twice as long in the air. You will also go twice as far as on earth.

The equation is of the form t = 2Voy/g where g is the acceleration of gravity, Voy the staring speed in the vertical direction and t is the time in the air. The 2 comes from the particle making a round trip (up and then back down)

Of course, you will probably need to pitch the explanation a bit "lower" for your students.

R. Avakian



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