Feather falls as fast as a hammer—on the airless moon

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To see a feather fall as fast as a hammer you need the QuickTime™ plug-in; if you don't have it on your computer, click here to get it free.

On the Apollo 15 lunar mission David R. Scott and James B. Irwin flew down to land on the moon’s surface, while Alfred M. Worden flew the Command Module in orbit around the moon. On the moon one of them dropped a feather from a falcon — the mascot of the Air Force Academy — and a geology hammer at the same time. What a contrast; what's lighter than a feather or heavier and hand-held than a hammer?

Just as Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton said, with no air to slow them, they fell together. Note the moon sand they kick up when they hit! On earth why does a feather fly?

And notice that they fell more slowly than on earth, because the moon’s gravity is less than on Earth. Do you know why gravity on our moon is less than on Earth? Learn why! Read about Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton.

To see the movie click here; download will take from less than a minute to several, depending on your type of internet connection.

Clip courtesy of NASA.