On Earth we use gravity to fall forwards on every step we take, converting it into forward speed in an up-and-down motion, much like a pendulum. But how will astronauts walk on Mars, where the gravity is a third of Earth’s?
Volunteers walked on force-monitoring platforms while the aircraft flew up and down to recreate martian gravity.
The results showed that the ideal walking speed on Mars will be only a little more than half of the terrestrial average. Although martian explorers will walk more slowly than they would on Earth, they will expend only half as much energy to move an object. These statistics are vital to mission designers preparing a mission to the Red Planet.
The results were published in the journal Nature.