Weight on Different Planets

A blue and yellow exhibit table, with a white and blue informationa panel at the back. On the table top sits 4 black weights.
A blue and yellow exhibit table, with a white and blue informationa panel at the back. On the table top sits 4 black weights.

Mass and weight may be interchangeable terms, but weight relies on force applied to a mass by gravity.

How it works

Lift pods that represent the same mass, but different weights on certain planets due to gravity.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

Lift up each black pod. Are some pods heavier than others?

Background

If you place the same mass on different planets, it will actually have a different weight on each planet due to gravity.

A pod’s weight on Earth is caused by gravity pulling the pod and its contents towards the centre of the Earth. If you take the pod to a planet which has a stronger or weaker gravitational pull, the pod’s weight will be heavier or lighter, even though the amount of material inside the pod (its mass) stays the same.

Finding the science in your world

Jupiter’s gravitational pull is 2.5 times stronger than Earth’s, so the same pod weighs 2.5 times more on Jupiter than on Earth! Similarly, if you weigh 50 kg on Earth, you would find that you would weigh about 125 kg on Jupiter, even though your mass hasn't changed.