The idea of bouncing around in the moon‘s low gravity is so appealing that an entire industry was formed to recreate the experience for kids at their birthday parties. But since walking on the moon is currently an impossible dream for most of us, it’s hard to understand just how different its gravity is compared to that of earth, or for us to comprehend what the gravity will be like when mankind reaches its next celestial destination, Mars. How can we non-astronauts tangibly grasp those differences when we aren’t going to space any time soon?
It turns out a brilliantly designed, handheld desk toy will let you see how much slower an object will fall on the moon or mars due to the very different gravity of each. “Inspired by space missions,” the Moondrop uses “simple physics” to make a slider fall at a rate equivalent to that of the gravity of the moon or Mars.
The moon’s gravity of 1.622 m/s² is roughly a sixth of our planet’s (9.807 m/s²), with Mars’ gravity of 3.711 m/s² roughly 2.6 less than earth’s. The two different forms of the Moondrop show the falling speeds of each celestial body.
Made with the “latest cutting edge technology using precision CNC machining,” the body for both versions, as well as the slider for the Lunar Moondrop, is made from “Aerospace grade aluminum,” with the Mars’s slider made out of pure copper. The design of each toy is based on physic’s “well known” Lenz’s law, which you can read about in more depth on the Kickstarter page, but the simplest explanation is “magnets.” The magnets inside create forces that slow down the slider, seamlessly mimicking the gravity of either the moon or Mars. You can remove the magnets though to return them to earth’s (boring old) gravity.
While we’re always super excited by a simple but awesome display of a scientific concept, we’re also really into their other selling point about how this is the perfect toy for fidgety people (guilty!). At roughly 2.7 inches in total length, this pocket-sized contraption is the perfect object to mindlessly spin around or play with while working, or letting your mind drift to the stars.
And it’s clear we aren’t the only ones, since with still almost four weeks left, they have easily exceeded their pledge goal of over 6,000 dollars U.S., with over a thousand backers contributing over $51,000 to the Moondrop. You can get one of your choosing for around 26 dollars, or get both (or two of the same if you prefer) for 44 dollars, with other packages available if you want a whole lot more. (As of this writing there are still a few early bird options available too, so if you want to save a little money act fast.)
With the project already funded, they say the parts will be ordered in April, with full scale production beginning in May, and a target date of June to start shipping orders.
And the nicest thing is that once you get your Moondrop you get to keep it, unlike those moon bouncy castles they only let us rent for a few hours. We prefer our moon gravity experiences to follow the laws of physics, anyway.
What other planets or celestial bodies would you like to have a Moondrop for? Drop down into our comments section at whatever gravitational speed you like and tell us what you think.
Images: Moondrop/Kristoph Krisjans