How Many Golf Balls Could You Fit On The Moon?

moon

Golf balls are very small objects, and the moon is a relatively gigantic object.

Therefore, you may wonder, how many golf balls could you fit on the moon?

In this article, we will tell you exactly how many golf balls you could fit on the moon for 2 different scenarios.

How Many Golf Balls Could You Fit On The Moon?

By covering the entire surface of the moon with a single layer of golf balls, you could fit 20766563000000000 golf balls on the moon. However, if you stack other layers on top of the first layer, you could theoretically stack an infinity of golf balls on the moon. Eventually, the moon would collapse under the weight of the golf balls.

In this article, we will explore 2 scenarios requiring different calculations:

Scenario 1: You are only allowed to cover the surface of the moon with one layer of golf balls. You cannot stack golf balls.

Scenario 2: You can stack golf balls on the surface of the moon as high as you want, until they leave the moon and go into outer space.

Scenario 1: Covering the moon surface with 1 layer of golf balls

In this scenario, we will explore how many golf balls you can fit on the surface of the moon, without stacking them.

First, we need to note the surface area of the moon:

Surface area of the moon = 14.6M square miles

Next, we need to know how much space a golf ball occupies, using the same base unit as for the moon’s surface area (miles):

Width of 1 golf ball = 1.68 inches = 0.0000265151515151 miles

We can model the space the golf ball locks up on the moon’s surface by projecting a virtual circle on the moon’s surface; the length of the square’s side would be equivalent to the width of the golf ball.

The projection of the golf ball on the moon’s surface (circular projection) loses space in each “corner” because of the inefficient packing. By putting golf balls together on the moon’s surface to maximize the number of golf balls, you will have empty space between the balls. Accounting for this lost space can be done by considering that a golf ball locks up a square area on the moon’s surface equal to:

Surface area taken by 1 golf ball (virtual square) = (0.0000265151515151)^2 = 7.0305326e-10 square miles

To find how many golf balls we can fit on the moon’s surface, we simply divide the moon’s surface by the surface area one golf ball locks up:

Number of golf balls that can fit on moon = Surface area of moon/Surface area lost to one golf ball

Number of golf balls that can fit on moon = 14.6M square miles/7.0305326e-10 square miles

Number of golf balls that can fit on moon = 2.0766563e+16 golf balls

For those who do not understand scientific notation, this means that you could fit 20766563000000000 golf balls on the surface of the moon. In other words, you could fit around 20766563 billion golf balls on the surface of the moon.

Scenario 2: Stacking golf balls on the moon as high as possible

The second scenario is much more complicated in the sense that the answer is very nuanced. We will be looking at stacking golf balls until they exit the gravitational pull of the moon.

First, we need to define the edge of space:

The edge of space is the vague vertical height that separates a planet’s atmosphere from outer space. In simplified terms, past the edge of space, the planet’s gravity will be too weak to keep pulling objects towards its center, and objects will have a chance to move in outer space, as gravity from other bodies will pull the object.

If the moon were infinitely far away from any other planets or bodies, you could theoretically stack golf balls on it until infinity. The reason behind the ability to stack infinite golf balls is because there would be no other bodies that could exert gravitational pull on the balls in this case.

However, in reality, there are other celestial bodies near the moon, such as Earth and the Sun.

If you stacked golf balls high enough, they would eventually leave the moon and be pulled by the Earth, the Sun, or other planets or bodies. In this case, the other bodies would pull on the golf balls high up more strongly than the moon, as the gravitational pull of the moon decreases as objects go higher up.

Since the height of golf balls you could stack on the moon depends on the moon’s position relative to other planets and celestial bodies, you cannot give a general answer as to how many golf balls you could stack; you could only answer for one specific instant in time.

Therefore, theoretically, you could stack an infinity of golf balls on the moon if no other celestial bodies were near the moon. To save space, you could stack golf balls using the cannonball arrangement.

An interesting point to mention is that at some point, you would stack so many golf balls that the moon would crumble under the pressure of all the golf balls.

On the other hand, in reality, the amount of golf balls you could stack up on the moon is the number of golf balls you can fit on the moon’s surface, times the height of the edge of space at that instant in time, divided by the height of one golf ball times the cannonball packing fraction.

For example, if at one instant in time we randomly suppose the edge of space on the moon were at 62 miles above the moon’s surface, the following calculation would tell you how many balls you could stack on the moon:

Number of balls stacked = ((number of balls you can fit on moon’s surface)*(height of edge of space)*cannonball packing fraction)/(height of a golf ball)

Number of balls stacked = ((20766563000000000)*(62 miles)*0.74)/(0.0000265151515151 miles)

Number of balls stacked = 4.76386e+22

For those who do not understand scientific notation, this means that you could fit 47638600000000000000000 golf balls on the surface of the moon by stacking them until they are pulled towards other celestial bodies, if the edge of space were at 62 miles above the moon’s surface.

In other words, you could fit around 47638600000000 billion golf balls on the surface of the moon in this case.

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Conclusion

There you go! After reading this article, you have learned how many billions of golf balls you could fit on the surface of the moon, with 1 layer, or by stacking layers.

As you have read, the number of golf balls you could fit on the moon is astronomical.

Can you believe how many golf balls can fit on the moon? Let us know in the comments down below!