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zompist bboard • View topic - Movement in Lower Gravity

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:37 am 
Smeric
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So my conworld has less gravity than earth: I'm not sure, but I figure like 0.5 to 0.6 G and a moderately thicker atmosphere. This means that everything weights less. it means that inertia and drag are comparatively more important than weight. It also means that flying animals can be much larger, and that, for instance, cavalry tactics are much different, since a horse can carry effectively twice the weight and still be able to charge. I imagine trees would be able to grow taller, since circulation is made easier by lower gravity. Most locomotion methods are much easier, so animals can be bigger without paying so much energy for locomotion.

However, gravity is such a base parameter in our world that I can't possibly imagine every consequence a lower gravity might have, especially regarding animals: would animals be taller? less muscular since they don't need to deal with lifting their own weight? somewhere I read that lower gees might produce more slender things, but I dunno, being bigger and having longer limbs creates the problem of flexion and inertia: even without gravity, a heavy thing has momentum, and the longer and less muscular the limbs, the less able it is to take force.

Jumping becomes a much better way of locomotion, but how better? Here's when not paying attention to physics in school, mainly cinematics, is definitely taking its toll... this whole thing is unintuitive to me: If I weighted half what I weight [cause gravity is halved], how far would I be able to jump? twice as high? would I be able to, say, run faster? how do less weight but same inertia conjugate, is what I wonder.

Okay, lemme wrap this up: I know this has been a messy exposition, but the problem might be interesting to some of you. There's two questions here, it seems.

- how would 0.5G affect zoology, as in how would earth animals adapt to lower gravity?
- how would 0.5G affect human biomechanics? as in jumping, running, and stuff.

I guess the underlying question is about low gravity and locomotion. what's up with that? any ideas?

EDIT: as a note, the planet was terraformed around half a million years ago, filled with all kinds of earth animals, save a few things like dogs and wolves and mosquitoes, and introducing pleistocene megafauna and the like. So enough time for a few distinct species to evolve, but most adaptations from these animals to the lower grav are mostly behavioural and anatomical, but minor: say, pretty big eagles, large hares browsing the savanna, something filling the niche of wolves [maybe boars?] and stuff like that. that's why I'm interested in locomotion and the effects on earth animals.

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Last edited by Torco on Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:01 am 
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How have you got a thicker atmosphere with less gravity? Half the gravity should mean a far thinner atmosphere. Also: how damn small IS this planet?

Horses won't be able to carry twice the weight, because they'll have evolved to be less strong.

Yes, things would be more gracile. And more things would be bipedal.

Among bipedal creatures, jumping is already more efficient on Earth - indeed, for large creatures its TOO efficient (it leads to heat buildup in the groin, which renders the animals sterile - so they either can only do it for short periods (rabbits) or they need to evolve natural radiator systems (kangaroos). But if they do that, jumping is faster, and vastly better over long distances.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:13 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:21 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:33 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:35 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:01 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:10 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:33 am 
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Oh, sure. And it's not that hard to evolve kangaroo heat dissipation techniques anyway. I'm just saying that it wouldn't be a simple matter of jumping becoming more efficient and hence more popular, since it already outperforms running anyway.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:31 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:52 am 
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Since your conworld has a thicker atmoshere, I think it'd come down to the ratio of oxygen ( assuming that's what you conspecies breathe) in the planet's atmosphere. If you have a conciderably high ratio of oxygen your lifeforms could afford to have vastly varying levels of gracility or rubustness depending on their niche in the foodchain, that's why the Dinosaurs and Plants of old were so gigantic. Modern life on Earth is smaller due to lower oxygen levels, we can't sustain supersized bodies. :)

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Last edited by Amuere on Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:54 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:08 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:03 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:19 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:40 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:35 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:37 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:19 pm 
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cold-tolerant, plus there's more light. The planet is inside a planetary nebula kinda like the crab nebula, not very far from these massive stars that stirr up the whole interstellar medium there, so even during the night there's a fair amount of light reaching the planet's surface... you can read a book at night only on starlight.

also, macrofauna is awesome! yeah!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:33 pm 
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Torco, FWIW I really want to visit your conplanet!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:39 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:51 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:59 pm 
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I forgot to mention plants mostly grow after solstace because darkness comes and the plants have been able to mature enough to enjoy it. My sunflowers were proof. They wouldn't grow larger then a foot for two months. After about three hours of darkness were available the reached nine feet in five weeks then died with the snow.

Also that book was recently published backed by five of my teachers and my uncle who is a university professor. It cost me an arm and three toes. I think that it is correct. Besides I saw a similar theory shown on Science channel.


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