Q:

# How do you calculate the weight of a human being on the moon?

A:

A human on the moon weighs approximately one-sixth of his weight on Earth, explains a "Math and Molecules" course text at New York University. Therefore, dividing a human's normal weight by six gives his approximate weight on the moon. For example, a 360-pound person weighs about 60 pounds on the moon.

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Credit: Encyclopaedia Britannica/UIG Universal Images Group Getty Images

The mass of a person is the same regardless of location. Weight, on the other hand, is a function of gravity and is based on where the person is located. In most cases, planet Earth is the obvious location factor, but astronomy applications sometimes require knowing a person's weight when on another celestial body. The moon is smaller than Earth, and therefore experiences much less gravity. The moon's gravitational pull is approximately 0.165 of Earth's, and it has a mass of 7.35 x 10^22 kilograms, states the Department of Physics at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Weight is technically measured in newtons, a measure of the force exerted by the celestial body. Mass is measured in grams or kilograms. Colloquially, most people refer to mass and weight interchangeably. Because a person weighs one-sixth his normal amount on the moon, while on the moon he would feel much stronger, but have less traction when moving. This could lead to a misstep in which a moonwalker would end up stepping farther than intended.

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