People first walked on the moon on July 20, 1969. When Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the surface of the moon that day, they not only made world history — they lost weight.

How is this possible? Let’s find out.

Before we can understand weight, we must first understand gravity and mass. Gravity is a natural force that attracts objects to each other.

On Earth, gravity is the constant force pulling us toward Earth and preventing us from flying off into space like a balloon. When you step on a scale, it shows your weight as a number. This number is actually a measurement of the gravitational pull Earth has on you.

Mass is how much “stuff” you are made of. Unlike weight, your mass is the same whether you are on Earth, on Mars, on the moon, sitting in your living room, swimming in the ocean or floating somewhere in outer space.

Someone who weighs 200 pounds has more mass than someone who weighs 100 pounds. The more mass a person has, the greater the pull of gravity on them. This is why a scale shows a higher number for a larger person.

Small celestial bodies have weaker gravitational pulls than Earth. Larger planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn, have stronger gravitational pulls, which means you’d weigh more if you visited those planets.

Since the moon is smaller than Earth, it has a weaker gravitational pull. In fact, the moon only has 1/6 the gravity that Earth does. This means you weigh six times less on the moon than you do on Earth!

When the astronauts landed on the moon in 1969, they wore space suits and carried heavy packs of equipment. Since gravity is much weaker on the moon, everything weighed only 1/6 of its Earth-weight, and the astronauts were able to move around the moon very easily.

 

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    • That was a super fun activity, wasn’t it, Elango? Thanks for exploring this Wonder and for letting us know you liked the facts you found in it! :-)

    • Hello, Katherine! We’re so glad you went back and read our reply to your comment on the astronaut Wonder! We think it’s AWESOME that you explored this Wonder, too, and that you learned a little more about how much you might weigh on the moon! :-)

  1. My class is learning about the moon!!!
    We are researching facts about the moon then we are going to write a book about the moon.
    I liked that wonder!!!

    • Hey there, Brittany! We’re so excited you are WONDERing about how much you would way on the moon! HOORAY! Check out the excerpt below for more information:

      “Small celestial bodies have weaker gravitational pulls than Earth. Larger planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn, have stronger gravitational pulls, which means you’d weigh more if you visited those planets.
      Since the moon is smaller than Earth, it has a weaker gravitational pull. In fact, the moon only has 1/6 the gravity that Earth does. This means you weigh six times less on the moon than you do on Earth!”

      This means, someone who weighs 100 lbs on Earth would weigh 1/6 of their weight on the moon. You would multiply 100 lbs by .66, or divide 100 by 6. How much would you weigh on the moon? :)

  2. This was so awesome. I learned a ton of stuff I never knew. This was so great
    #Thanks Wonderopolis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I was wondering how it felt to take off from the moon. How many g’s did the astronauts feel? I can’t find the answer to that anywhere.

    • According to the Wonder, Chase, you would weigh six times less on the moon than you do on Earth! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How much do you weigh on the moon?
  • What is gravity?
  • How does the gravitational pull of planets affect your weight?

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Wonder #128- Moon Static ImageVimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to step on an astronomical scale? Find your weight on different planets and stars.

You may be surprised to discover you’re as light as a feather on some planets and heavier than a school bus on others!

 

Still Wondering

Learn more about how to measure weight and mass with Illuminations’ The Weight of Things lesson!

 

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What do lemons, bananas, corn on the cob, cheese and school buses have in common? Their signature color, of course! Tomorrow Wonderopolis will board the bus and take a ride to find out why school buses are yellow.

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