Here’s How Far You Can Throw a Ball on Other Planets

While there are countless reasons to visit other celestial bodies in the solar system—to inspect potentially life-supporting plumes on Endeladus, for example—there’s one relatively minor bonus to exploring other planets and moons: To throw stuff really really far. In a new video planetary scientist Dr. James O’Donoghue shows us exactly how far people could throw balls on other planets. And let’s just say on Pluto we’d feel like Tom Brady.

Laughing Squid picked up on O’Donoghue’s new planetary sciences video, which is just one of dozens he’s posted to his YouTube channel. Previously, the Japan-based scientist showed us how fast various planets spin compared to one another. As well as how long it would take balls to drop on other planets.

In O’Donoghue’s video (above) he shows how far a ball thrown at a 45° angle would travel on various planets in the solar system. As well as the Moon and Pluto. Notably, O’Donoghue assumes no atmospheric resistance for his calculations and a starting speed of 45 mph for the ball.

A graphic showing how far somebody could throw a ball on different planets in the solar system as well as the Moon.
Dr James O’Donoghue

The comparison begins on Earth where O’Donoghue shows a ball traveling an arced distance of about 134 feet. (Apparently Canadian baseball player Glenn Gorbous holds the record for longest ball throw at about 445 feet. Although it was only a baseball and maybe he had help from the wind.) After Earth, O’Donoghue moves onto Jupiter, Neptune, etc. moving, it seems, in no particular order.

Obviously the mass and density of the different celestial bodies, and therefore their surface gravities, varies widely. By far the shortest throw is on Jupiter, where the ball travels approximately 50 feet, going no higher than about 30 feet. On the other end of the spectrum is, of course, Pluto. There, a thrown ball will travel more than 2,100 feet; reaching a height of almost 500 feet. Which means on other planets we could be NFL superstars! As long as nobody from the NFL is there.

Feature image: Dr James O’Donoghue

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