Weight On Different Planets Worksheets & Teaching Resources

Activity: Weight

Hawai’i Space Grant Consortium, Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai’i, 1996

How Much Do You Weigh?
Purpose

To understand that weight is a measure of gravitational attraction and that this force is not the same on each planet.

Key Words

force

gravity

gravitational attraction

weight

mass

Materials

«New» Weight Chart

calculators

bathroom scale

Background
Gravity is a universal, natural force that attracts objects to each other. Gravity is the pull toward the center of an object; let’s say, of a planet or a moon. When you weigh yourself, you are measuring the amount of gravitational attraction exerted on you by Earth. The Moon has a weaker gravitational attraction than Earth. In fact, the Moon’s gravity is only 1/6 of Earth’s gravity. So, you would weigh less on the Moon. How much would you weigh on the Moon and on the other planets?

Procedure

1.
Write your weight (or an estimate) here:
2.
For a different planet, multiply your weight by the number given in the «New» Weight Chart.

Example for the Moon — for a person weighing 60 pounds on Earth:

60 x 1/6 = 10
A 60 pound person would weigh 10 pounds on the Moon!
This example uses weight in pounds, but you can do this activity using any unit you wish.

3.
Follow the example and fill in the blanks in the «New» Weight Chart. Show your work.

«New» Weight Chart

Planet Multiply your Earth weight by: Your «new» weight
Mercury 0.4
Venus 0.9
Earth 1
Moon 0.17
Mars 0.4
Jupiter 2.5
Saturn 1.1
Uranus 0.8
Neptune 1.2
Pluto 0.01
Sun 28

Extensions
A nice on-line activity to calculate your weight on the planets and moons is available at The Exploratorium.

Another on-line activity with a fill-in table is available at StarChild, from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Question: Where do the multiplication factors come from?
Answer: Each number is the gravitational attraction, relative to Earth’s, of each planet in our solar system. Remember, gravity is the force of attraction between two objects and is influenced by the mass of the two objects and the distance between the two objects. You can use any unit you wish for your weight.

The «New» Weight Chart can be built as a spreadsheet; thus adding database-computer skills into the activity. This great idea was shared by Mary L. Wyatt, University of Michigan-Dearborn, School of Education.   [7 DEC 1999]


Return to Planetary Properties Activity Index.
Return to Hands-On Activities home page.
http://www.spacegrant.hawaii.edu/class_acts/

Weight-Planet Calculator | National Schools’ Observatory

Does this mean you would suddenly be thinner on Mars? No. You would have the same amount of mass as you do on Earth. (Mass is the amount of stuff inside an object.)

So, on Mars, your mass would be the same as it is here on Earth. But you’d weigh less because Mars has less gravity than Earth.

Gravity is an attractive force. This doesn’t mean it’s pretty. What «attractive» means is that an object’s gravity pulls other objects toward it. Look at the chart (see below). The Earth’s gravity naturally pulls us, and everything else, toward the center of the planet, which keeps us from drifting off into space.

The Earth isn’t the only thing that has gravity. In fact, every single object in the universe has gravity. The tables you’re sitting at have gravity. They are pulling you towards them. You have gravity, and you are pulling the tables towards you. We can’t see or feel these things happening because people and tables have a such a small mass that the effects of gravity cannot be seen.

Mass is the amount of stuff contained inside an object. It takes a lot of mass to make a lot of gravity. The Earth has a lot of mass, so it has a lot of gravity. The moon’s gravity is about 1/6 the amount of the Earth’s because the moon has less mass than the Earth.

So what does all this have to do with weight? Well, weight is the force on a object caused by gravity trying to pull the object down. A scale measures how much gravity your mass has. A person with more mass has more gravity, and therefore weighs more.

You’ve probably seen video footage of astronauts walking on the moon. They seem to float between each step. Remember that the moon has about 1/6 the amount of gravity that the Earth has? Well, if you went to the moon, you’d weigh less than you do here on Earth. Does this mean you would suddenly be thinner on the moon? Absolutely not. Your mass would be the same — there is no less of you on the moon. But your weight is different because the moon’s gravity is different.

Bringing Science to Life

by

In this self-directed and interactive webquest, students explore the world of forces and motion: Gravity, Friction, and Newton’s Laws of Motion. This webquest is full of engaging interactives, games, experiments and quizzes!! In a first stop, students work through key concepts, vocabulary and exampl

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This product addresses concepts related to Earth’s Place in the Universe: Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.

The packet includes content activities, charts, calculations and an engineering project, and answer keys are included.

Visit Suzanne’s Classroom Store!

The resources are designed to enrich or supplement your current curriculum.

Table of Contents:

First Things First Content Poster

Making a Model of a Curve in Space to Illustrate Gravity

Ultimate Diet 1 Weight on Different Planets Activity with Answer Key

Ultimate Diet 2 Weight on Different Planets Activity with Answer Key

Fun with Pendulums Activity and Experimentation (6 Pages)

Fun with Pendulums Data Chart

Calculating the Force of Gravity (Acceleration of Gravity) Activity (2 Pages) with Answer Key

Project Mars Egg Drop Engineering Project

Project Mars Egg Drop Plan Form

For other Next Generation Science MS-ESS products, check out these links!

Earth, Sun, Moon Cyclic Patterns: Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-1

Gravity within Galaxies and Our Solar System: Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-2

Solar System Scale Model: Distances Between Planets — Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-3

Scale Properties of Objects in the Solar System: Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-3

Scale Model for Planets: Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-3

Rock Strata Reveals Earth’s History — Next Generation Science MS-eSS1-4

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This product addresses concepts related to Earth’s Place in the Universe: Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.

The packet includes content posters, Interactive Student Notebook aides, and activities with answer keys. Content includes the phases of the moon, tides, Earth’s rotation and revolution, the cause of seasons, the apparent movement of the sun across the sky, and eclipses.

See 2-page preview!

Visit Suzanne’s Classroom Store!

The resources are designed to enrich or supplement your current curriculum.

Table of Contents:

Phases of Moon Info Poster

Phases of Moon Poster

Phases of Moon Foldable for Students’ Interactive Notebooks

Labeling the Phases of the Moon Quiz (with Answer Key)

Is It Waxing or Waning Activity Sheet (with Answer Key)

Moon Phases/Cycle Test (with Answer Key)

Tides Info Poster

Tides Info Poster Half-Sheets for Students Interactive Notebooks

Tides Task Activity Sheet (with Answer Key)

Earth’s Rotation and Revolution Info Poster

Earth’s Rotation and Revolution Info Poster Half-Sheets for Notebooks

Seasons Info Poster

Seasons Info Poster Half-Sheets for Students’ Interactive Notebook

Seasons Poster

Seasons Poster Half-Sheets for Students’ Interactive Notebook

List of Free Online Video Links about Earth’s Revolution and the Seasons

Modeling Earth’s Rotation and Revolution to Explain Day, Night, and Seasons – Option 1: Making a Visual 3D Model

Modeling Earth’s Rotation and Revolution to Explain Day, Night, and Seasons – Option 2: Making a Video-Type Explanation Model

Letter to Parents Requesting Help with Providing Materials

Understanding Earth’s Movement Activity Sheet (with Answer Key)

Sun’s Apparent Motion Across Sky Poster

Sun’s Apparent Motion Across Sky Poster Half-Sheets for Student Notebooks

Making a Simple Sundial Clock

Clock Face Pattern

Sun’s Apparent Motion Activity Sheet (with Answer Key)

Solar and Lunar Eclipses Info Poster

Solar and Lunar Eclipses Info Poster Half-Sheet for Student Notebooks

Modeling a Solar Eclipse Activity

Eclipses Activity Sheet (with Answer Key)

For other Next Generation Science MS-ESS Products, Check Out These Links!

Earth, Sun, Moon Cyclic Patterns: Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-1

Gravity within Galaxies and Our Solar System: Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-2

Solar System Scale Model: Distances Between Planets — Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-3

Scale Properties of Objects in the Solar System: Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-3

Scale Model for Planets: Next Generation Science MS-ESS1-3

Rock Strata Reveals Earth’s History — Next Generation Science MS-eSS1-4

Your weight is different on other planets in the Solar System because the gravity is different. The following tool tells you what the scales would read on other worlds. You can measure your weight in any units you like (kilograms, newtons, elephants…) and the units will be the same on the other planet — for example if I input 25 kg on Earth the answer given would be in kg on any of the other planets!

Type your weight into the first box below, and then click on a planet.

MercuryMercury
VenusVenus
MarsMars
JupiterJupiter
SaturnSaturn
UranusUranus
NeptuneNeptune

Planet
Name

If you want to know how to work this out for yourself visit our Calculating your Weight on another Planet quick activity page.

We calculate weight by multiplying mass by the gravity on the surface of the planet.

Weight = Mass x Surface Gravity

So, if you know your weight on Earth and the surface gravity on Earth, you can calculate your mass. You can then calculate your weight on any other planet by using the surface gravity of that planet in the same equation.

You can work it out for yourself using the surface gravity values in the following planetary data sheet. You can then check your answers using the weight calculator.

Planet Data Sheet

Facts and Figures Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune
a 1 AU (or Astronomical Unit) = 149,600,000 km and is the mean distance from the Earth to the Sun
b 1 Earth Mass = 5,980,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
c 1 g = 9.8 m/s2
Orbital Distance (AU)a 0.38 0.72 1.0 1.52 5.2 9.45 19.2 30.06
Radius (KM) 2,440 6,052 6,378 3,397 71,492 60,268 25,559 24,746
Mass (Earth Masses)b 0.055 0.82 1.0 0.11 318 95.2 14.5 17.1
Year Length
(Earth Days)
88 225 365.25 687 11.9
Years
29.45
Years
84.0
Years
164.8
Years
Day Length
(Earth Days)
176 117 1.0 1.03 0.41 0.43 0.75 0.67
Surface Gravity (g)c 0.38 0.91 1.0 0.38 2.34 0.93 0.92 1.12
Surface Temperature -200 to
400 °C
460 °C -80 to
50 °C
-150 to
20 °C
-110 °C -140 °C -190 °C -200 °C
Number of moons 0 0 1 2 63 60 27 13

The Relationship Between Gravity and Mass and Distance

As stated above, your weight is a measure of the pull of gravity between you and the body you are standing on. This force of gravity depends on a few things. First, it depends on your mass and the mass of the planet you are standing on.

If you double your mass, gravity pulls on you twice as hard. If the planet you are standing on is twice as massive, gravity also pulls on you twice as hard. On the other hand, the farther you are from the center of the planet, the weaker the pull between the planet and your body.

The force gets weaker quite rapidly. If you double your distance from the planet, the force is one-fourth. If you triple your separation, the force drops to one-ninth. Ten times the distance, one-hundredth the force.

math equation
Equations are guides to thinking

The two «M’s» on top are your mass and the planet’s mass. The «r» below is the distance from the center of the planet. The masses are in the numerator because the force gets bigger if they get bigger.

The distance is in the denominator because the force gets smaller when the distance gets bigger. Note that the force never becomes zero no matter how far you travel. Perhaps this was the inspiration for the poem by Francis Thompson:

All things
by immortal power
near or far
to each other
hiddenly linked are.
That thou cans’t not stir a flower
without troubling a star.

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

This equation, first derived by Sir Isaac Newton, tells us a lot. For instance, you may suspect that because Jupiter is 318 times as massive as the Earth, you should weigh 318 times what you weigh at home.

This would be true if Jupiter was the same size as the Earth. But, Jupiter is 11 times the radius of the Earth, so you are 11 times further from the center. This reduces the pull by a factor of 112 resulting in about 2.

53 times the pull of Earth on you. Standing on a neutron star makes you unimaginably weighty. Not only is the star very massive to start with (about the same as the Sun), but it is also incredibly small (about the size of San Francisco), so you are very close to the center and r is a very small number. Small numbers in the denominator of a fraction lead to very large results!

Mass and Weight

Before we get into the subject of gravity and how it acts, it’s important to understand the difference between weight and mass.

We often use the terms «mass» and «weight» interchangeably in our daily speech, but to an astronomer or a physicist they are completely different things. The mass of a body is a measure of how much matter it contains.

An object with mass has a quality called inertia. If you shake an object like a stone in your hand, you would notice that it takes a push to get it moving, and another push to stop it again.

If the stone is at rest, it wants to remain at rest. Once you’ve got it moving, it wants to stay moving. This quality or «sluggishness» of matter is its inertia. Mass is a measure of how much inertia an object displays.

Weight is an entirely different thing. Every object in the universe with mass attracts every other object with mass. The amount of attraction depends on the size of the masses and how far apart they are.

For everyday-sized objects, this gravitational pull is vanishingly small, but the pull between a very large object, like the Earth, and another object, like you, can be easily measured. How? All you have to do is stand on a scale!

If you are in a spaceship far between the stars and you put a scale underneath you, the scale would read zero. Your weight is zero. You are weightless. There is an anvil floating next to you. It’s also weightless.

Are you or the anvil mass-less? Absolutely not. If you grabbed the anvil and tried to shake it, you would have to push it to get it going and pull it to get it to stop. It still has inertia, and hence mass, yet it has no weight. See the difference?

TO DO {amp}amp; NOTICE:

  • Fill in your weight below in the space indicated. You can enter your weight in any unit you wish.
  • Click on the «Calculate» button.
  • Notice that the weights on other worlds will automatically fill in. Notice that your weight is different on the different worlds.
  • You can click on the images of the planets to get more information about them from Bill Arnett’s incredible Nine Planets web site.
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