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Apollo 15 Hammer and Feather Drop

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Published on Apr 27, 2009

At the end of the last Apollo 15 moon walk, Commander David Scott (pictured left)
performed a live demonstration for the television cameras. He held out a geologic
hammer and a feather and dropped them at the same time. Because they were
essentially in a vacuum, there was no air resistance and the feather fell at the same rate
as the hammer, as Galileo had concluded hundreds of years before - all objects released
together fall at the same rate regardless of mass. Mission Controller Joe Allen described
the demonstration in the "Apollo 15 Preliminary Science Report":

During the final minutes of the third extravehicular activity, a short demonstration
experiment was conducted. A heavy object (a 1.32-kg aluminum geological hammer)
and a light object (a 0.03-kg falcon feather) were released simultaneously from
approximately the same height (approximately 1.6 m) and were allowed to fall to the
surface. Within the accuracy of the simultaneous release, the objects were observed to
undergo the same acceleration and strike the lunar surface simultaneously, which was a
result predicted by well-established theory, but a result nonetheless reassuring
considering both the number of viewers that witnessed the experiment and the fact that
the homeward journey was based critically on the validity of the particular theory being
tested.

Apollo 15 Mission Stats

Launched: 26 July 1971 UT 13:34:00 (09:34:00 a.m. EDT)
Landed on Moon: 30 July 1971 UT 22:16:29 (06:16:29 p.m. EDT)
Landing Site: Hadley Rille/Apennines (26.13 N, 3.63 E)
Returned to Earth: 7 August 1971 UT 20:45:53 (04:45:53 p.m. EDT)

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