Travel & Tourism

Up or down? What position will the earth be if you were standing on the moon?

Written by Solomon Unoke

Have you ever wondered what is the real position of the Moon to the Earth Solomon Unoke

Humans evolved within Earth’s gravity, and so the way we perceive objects have been shaped by several illusions created by the internal gravitational models of each individual. Vertical orientation determines how we perceive things like the horizon and other heavenly bodies, or what angle an object is leaning towards, like the tower of Pisa.                                                            Questions like, “What direction will the Earth be while observing from the moon?” correlates with questions like “would you be standing upside down at the south pole?”                                                          A man’s mind is designed to constantly puzzle about these things, but then the confusions surrounding these issues were created by common misconceptions that are surprisingly relayed to us through sight.

How do we determine which way is up?                                                                                                              This question might sound stupid to most people. Of course, everyone knows which way up is, you simply have to raise your head, and there it is. But it is not that simple, a sense of direction such as which way is up or down is determined by a species biological relationship with gravitational acceleration through its central nervous system.                                                                            A sense of direction such as which way is up or down is determined by a species biological relationship with gravitational acceleration through its central nervous system. A human’s vertical alignment is designed to be opposite the direction of gravitational acceleration. Since gravity pulls everything on the Earth’s surface towards the earth’s centre, we are aligned perpendicularly to the relatively flat surface of the Earth at any point. Nevertheless, it is a completely different issue in space because out there, there’s no up or down except you are standing on an object that is accelerating when your biological gravitational system realigns your vertical, giving you a sense of direction again.

Knowing that Earth is a spinning rock in space, and how gravity helps us align vertically will help one understand the orientation of celestial objects.

Is the South Pole upside down?

Another common misconception and question you must have asked at some point in your life are “what is the orientation of anyone at the South Pole”? This could be quite mind-boggling for you if you are unfamiliar with how the central nervous system helps to align us with the gravitational pull at any point. People standing at the South Pole feel the same way you feel at any point on the Earth, and this is because everything is accelerating towards the centre of the Earth. The Earth appears to be flat from any point on its surface is due to its large diameter. Earth’s diameter is 12,742 km, this puts the horizon at 5 km.                                                                   Meaning that anyone with a 20/20 vision standing on the Earth’s surface will be able to see as far away as 5 km without any obstructing structure. 

Human orientation on the moon and its horizons

In Space

Horizons appear different depending on the planet, for a person on Earth this would be 5 km, but for a human on the Moon this is quite shorter. This causes disorientation due to familiarity with planet Earth’s.                                                                                                                                                   Astronauts from the Apollo missions recounted how disorienting it was to have the horizon so close as opposed to Earth. The Moon has a diameter of 3,474.8 km, which is about ¼ that of Earth. Its horizon sits only 2.43 km from any observer, having no atmosphere.                                                                      Astronauts said when you are on the moon you can tell if you are in one of its largest craters as its edges will be beyond the horizon. For a moon-based observer, the Earth will rise and set just like the moon does on Earth, so an observer on the moon will be looking up at the skies to observe the Earth.


Humanity is filled with curiosity, which fuels adventures, but man cannot further evolve if he does not ask both simple and difficult questions about its existence. Humans have accomplished more than any species on the planet Earth: built rockets, which started transporting the man to the moon in 1969. The human species have placed rovers on Mars, probes which travelled to Pluto, and one day we will colonize this solar system. However, this progress will not be reached if questions remained unanswered. 

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade, to do the other things, not that they are easy, but because they are hard. That goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our skills. After all, that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win. ” John F Kennedy, Former US President. 

About the author

Solomon Unoke

Solomon is a writer science fiction, romance and website contents who's passion revolves around works of creativity and vivid imaginations.

"Walls, trees, the sands and the seas, all of nature is a witness to the stories of our lives and of thousands of lives that came before us. Whispers heard in the winds, and the chirping of the birds on the trees, are stories begging to be heard and experiences that wants to be relived. Our stories keep the planet alive."

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