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Discovery Magazine 7/1/2014

Why Do Things Drop?

by  Digger Doug

Dear Evie of Rock Springs, WY,

If you have ever dropped something heavy on your foot, you know it does not feel good. Why do things drop down instead of float up or hover in mid air? There is an amazing force in our Universe called gravity that causes things to drop toward the Earth. The force of gravity depends on how big an object is (how much mass it has). For instance, our Sun is a huge star. Its gravity pulls the planets toward it and they stay in an orbit around the Sun. The Earth, where we live, is big enough to pull the Moon toward it and keep it in an orbit. The Moon is not as big as the Earth, and it does not have as much of a gravitational pull. The Moon has 1/6th the pull as the Earth. That means you could jump six times higher on the Moon than you can jump on Earth. Imagine how fun it would be to play basketball there! If you were in outer space and not close to any planets or other large objects, there would be almost no gravity. You would not be pulled in any direction, but would float all around. We should be glad God designed the Earth with gravity so that we, our houses, and everything else don’t float off into space! Thanks for the “heavy” question, Evie.

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