April 13, 2021

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How Long Would It Take To Walk Around the Moon?

How Long Would It Take To Walk Around the Moon?

The moon is just 27% the size of earth. So long-time Slashdot reader fahrbot-bot shares an interesting question from Science Alert.

“If you were to hop in a spaceship, don a spacesuit and go on an epic lunar hike, how long would it take to walk all the way around it? ”

During the Apollo missions, astronauts bounced around the surface at a casual 1.4 mph (2.2 km/h), according to NASA. This slow speed was mainly due to their clunky, pressurized spacesuits that were not designed with mobility in mind. If the “moonwalkers” had sported sleeker suits, they might have found it a lot easier to move and, as a result, picked up the pace…

At this new hypothetical max speed, it would take about 91 days to walk the 6,786-mile (10,921 km) circumference of the moon. For context, it would take around 334 days to walk nonstop (i.e., not stopping to sleep or eat) around the 24,901-mile (40,075 km) circumference of Earth at this speed, although it is impossible to do so because of the oceans.

Obviously, it’s not possible to walk nonstop for 91 days, so the actual walk around the moon would take much longer.

Of course, it’s not that easy, with ongoing solar radiation, extreme temperatures, and the need to walk around mile-deep craters. Aidan Cowley, a scientific adviser at the European Space Agency, also pointed out to Live Science that you’d need a support vehicle following you with food, water, and oxygen (which could also double as shelter, “kind of like portable mini-bases.”). But he also identified another issue:

This type of mission would also require a huge amount of endurance training because of the demands of exercising in low gravity on your muscles and cardiovascular system. “You’d have to send an astronaut with ultra-marathon-level fitness to do it,” Cowley said. Even then, walking at a top speed would be possible only for around three to four hours a day, Cowley said. So, if a person walked at 3.1 mph (5 km/h) for 4 hours a day, then it would take an estimated 547 days, or nearly 1.5 years to walk the moon’s circumference, assuming your route isn’t too disrupted by craters and you can deal with the temperature changes and radiation.

However, humans won’t have the technology or equipment to accomplish such a feat until at least the late 2030s or early 2040s, Cowley said. “You’d never get an agency to support anything like this,” Cowley said. “But if some crazy billionaire wants to try it, maybe they can pull it off.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.