From a Plinky prompt — “If you were offered a free trip to the moon, would you go? Why or why not?”
One-way, or round trip? That might make a difference. Maybe.
My answer to this pretty much always would have been “yes” — the novelty of being one of the only people to have been there, the excitement of exploring somewhere new and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been, the awe of seeing first-hand the terrible beauty of the “magnificent desolation,” the experience of actually BEING THERE.
And all of that was without any actual experience. If you’ve never really felt the one-sixth gravity of the surface of the moon, trust me, it’d be worth the trip.
I had the opportunity to go on a Zero-G reduced gravity flight a while back. The plane goes up into a huge arc, and then back down, and then back UP and then back DOWN. Inside the plane, you don’t really feel the up and down. What you do feel is that, as you go over the hill, for about half a minute, gravity goes away. It’s a rather interesting experience.
On my flight, we got about 15 weightless parabolas, spent floating in mid-air. Rather fun, to be honest. We also got two arcs at one-third G, the gravity that you would experience if you were walking on Mars.
And, because the Mythbusters were on our flight filming a segment debunking the conspiracy theory that the moon landings were faked, we got extra parabolas at lunar one-sixth G.
Space exploration is kind of my forte. I’ve studied what it’s like to experience weightlessness, lunar gravity, etc. I’ve talked to people who have experienced both. I was surprised at what a surprise one-sixth G was.
In orbit, you’re weightless. Weightlessness was interesting, but not surprising. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but upon experiencing it, I had somewhat of a “well, that makes sense” reaction. On Earth, there’s gravity. On the moon, there’s gravity. So the moon should be more like Earth than space, right? I expected something like everyday walking around, but different. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all.
One-sixth G was like being weightless without being untethered from the surface. You could jump high enough that you basically experienced freefall coming back down, but you did always come back down. It was amazing. It was freeing. And, yeah, I would definitely make the trip to experience it for more than half a minute at a time.