Scientific Correspondence | Published:

Walking on Mars

Nature volume 393, page 636 (18 June 1998) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Sometime in the near future humans may walk in the reduced gravity of Mars. Gravity plays an essential role in walking. On Earth, the body uses gravity to ‘fall forwards’ at each step and then the forward speed is used to restore the initial height in a pendulum-like mechanism. When gravity is reduced, as on the Moon or Mars, the mechanism of walking must change1. Here we investigate the mechanics of walking on Mars onboard an aircraft undergoing gravity-reducing flight profiles. The optimal walking speed on Mars will be 3.4 km h−1 (down from 5.5 km h−1 on Earth) and the work done per unit distance to move the centre of mass will be half that on Earth.

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Affiliations

  1. Istituto di Fisiologia Umana, Università di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy e-mail: cavagna@imiucca.csi.unimi.it

    • G. A. Cavagna
  2. Unité de Réadaptation, Université Catholique de Louvain, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

    • P. A. Willems
    •  & N. C. Heglund

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/31374

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