Mission of Gravity

Mission of Gravity
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
AuthorHal Clement
Cover artistJoseph Mugnaini
CountryUnited States
GenreHard science fiction
Publication date
April–July 1953 (in serial) & 1954 (in book form)
Media typePrint (Magazine, Paperback & Hardback)
Followed byStar Light 

Mission of Gravity is a science fiction novel by American writer Hal Clement. The novel was serialized in Astounding Science Fiction magazine in April–July 1953. Its first hardcover book publication was in 1954, and it was first published as a paperback book in 1958. Along with the novel itself, many editions (and most recent editions) of the book also include "Whirligig World", an essay by Clement on creating the planet Mesklin that was first published in the June 1953 Astounding.

Clement published three sequels to Mission of Gravity: a 1970 novel called Star Light, a 1973 short story called "Lecture Demonstration", and a 2000 short story, "Under". Mission of Gravity was nominated for a "Retro Hugo" Award for the year 1954.


The story is set on a highly oblate planet named Mesklin, which has surface gravity that varies between 700 g at the poles and 3 g at the equator. The story is told from the points of view of one of the local intelligent life forms and a human explorer. The locals are centipede-like, in order to withstand the enormous gravity, and terrified of even small heights (because in 700 g even a tiny fall is fatal). (See Mesklin for a more comprehensive description of the planet's characteristics.)

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