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Watch what happens when astronauts on the moon drop a hammer and feather at the same time

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Galileo had it right all along

For a long time, Geek Slop has been trying to convince his readers that despite mind-boggling implications, Galileo was correct – all objects fall at the same rate regardless of how heavy they are. In other words, mass does not affect gravitational pull. Theoretically, in a vacuum, if you dropped a school bus (yes, yes, imagine the principal inside if you really must add dramatic effect) and a feather from a tower, both would hit the ground at the same time (and the principal would be very unhappy). Wait – don’t leave yet! We’re not making this stuff up!

Apollo 15 Commander David Scott’s hammer and feather drop experiment

In 1971, on his last day on the moon, Apollo 15 Commander David Scott tested this theory. In one hand, he took a heavy 1.32kg geological hammer. In his other, a light 30g falcon bird feather (44 times lighter than the hammer). He dropped both at the exact same time and as suspected, they hit the ground simultaneously [sound of applause while a blushing Geek Slop takes a bow].

Check out the video below (and yes, it has a surprise ending).

But what about “drag”?

On Earth, the atmosphere causes aerodynamic drag (a trait that parachutists praise every time they jump out of a plane). The effect of “drag” is especially compounded with an object that has a large surface area – such as a feather. Thus, our everyday experience makes us want to *think* that heavier objects fall faster in all situations – not true.

As I’m sure you have already guessed, that means a parachute on the Moon would not work although on Mars, which has an atmosphere (albeit a thin one), parachutes serve their purpose quite well.

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