Link #138: You Can Jump 3 Times Higher On Mars!

Image credit: 5lab/CC BY-SA 2.0


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Link #138: You Can Jump 3 Times Higher On Mars!

Image credit: 5lab/CC BY-SA 2.0

In our last article, we explained why people on Earth only see one side of the moon all the time. The reason for this is tidal locking a process where the gravitational forces of the two heavenly bodies affect each other. Gravity, as a matter of fact, plays a key role in a lot that happens in space.

In fact, variations in the gravity of different planets can turn out to be very interesting and sometimes entertaining. For instance, did you know that John Carter’s gravity defying jumps in the books and the film are partly based on fact? That’s right; you can jump higher on Mars than you can on Earth!

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How High Can You Jump On Mars?

John Carter of Mars

Cover of Big Little Book John Carter of Mars (Dell, 1940). Image credit: Dell/CC0 Public Domain

If you’re a big fan of the John Carter books or have seen the movie, then it’s likely that you’re wondering if you will be able to achieve the same feats if you went to Mars. The answer is that you will be able to but not to the extent that they showed in the books or the movie.

You would be able to jump more than three times higher than what you can achieve on Earth. This means that if you can jump three inches off the ground on Earth, then you’ll be able to achieve slightly more than nine inches on Mars.

If you’re really fit, then you may even be able to jump around 10 feet which would mean one floor. However, you should remember that this is the standing jump. If you take a running start, then you may be able to achieve more lift and distance.

How Far Can You Jump On Mars?

Éloyse Lesueur
Éloyse Lesueur of France finished second in the event. Image credit: Guillaume Baviere/CC BY 2.0

By setting aside air friction which is much lower on Mars than Earth, you can come to a rough estimate of how far you can jump on Mars. However, you have to keep in mind that your jumping technique will play a role in your performance. Similarly, the running speed you build in a thin atmosphere with low gravity is another thing worth considering.

Still, if you take aside all these elements and simply use basic maths through Pythagoras Theorem, you can calculate the distance you can achieve on Mars. According to calculations, you’d be able to achieve 30 feet with a running jump on Mars.

For a truly fit individual like our long jump athletes, this number would be even higher. For instance, long jump athletes can usually achieve about 30 feet on Earth. This means that they may be able to achieve three times as much on Mars.

Why Can You Jump Higher Or Farther On Mars?

Mars Earth Comparison
Size comparison of Earth and Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS & DrLee/CC0 Public Domain

You can jump higher and gain more lateral distance with a running start because of the gravitational force on Mars. A planet’s gravitational force depends on its mass. Earth has approximately three times more mass than Mars.

This means that the gravity on Earth is three times stronger than Mars too. Because the gravity on Mars is less, you’ll be able achieve higher lift there with the same kind of force. For instance, an aeroplane will require 40 percent less power on Mars to take off than it needs on Earth.

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