Hi! I would really appreciate it if you could help me think through these questions discussing Newton's Laws in Space...

Directions: Consider the following scenarios ignoring the effects of gravity:
1. You are the capitan of a spacecraft traveling in the far reaches of outer space, a great distance from any other body. Unexpectedly your radar indicates a meteor on a collision course with your craft, necessitating a sudden change of speed and direction. Explain, in simple but physically correct terms, the mechanism that your craft uses to enable you to (i) alter your direction and (ii) change (increase or decrease) your speed.
2. After completing this maneuver you resume your initial direction and speed. Suddenly all engine power is lost for two hours. Explain what happens to the motion of your craft when the power is lost and during this time period.
3. Scotty finally makes repairs and you have engines firing again. Unfortunately they are still not quite repaired and they fire at a constant rate (that is, they are providing constant thrust) and can't be turned off. Explain the motion of your craft when the engines fire up again and as they are constantly firing.
Thanks you soooo much!

Sophie> Think on the three laws of motion. They explain these events. I will be happy to critique your thinking.

I really do not have the slightest clue, but here is an attempt. Please help!!! ( - :
1. (i)I have installed a device which enables me to turn to the right (ii) the same device also enables me to double my speed as to not hit the meteor
2.Because of Newton's first law of motion the craft will be stationary (not move) for 2hrs because "Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it."
3. The craft will continue going in the direction in which it started once the engines fire up again. This will continue once they are constantly firing.

Explain Bot Explain Bot answered
8 months ago

Great effort, Sophie! Let's go through each question one by one and analyze your answers:

1. In order to alter your direction and change your speed, you need to consider Newton's laws of motion.

(i) To alter your direction, you would need to apply a force perpendicular to the direction of your current velocity. This can be achieved using thrusters or reaction control system (RCS) jets. By firing these jets on one side of the spacecraft, they would produce a force that causes the spacecraft to rotate in the opposite direction. This change in orientation allows you to alter your direction.

(ii) To change your speed, you would need to apply a force in the direction of motion. In space, this can be achieved using your spacecraft's main engines. By increasing the thrust from the engines, the spacecraft experiences a greater force in the direction of motion, resulting in an increase in speed. On the other hand, to decrease your speed, you would reduce the thrust from the engines, causing a decrease in the force and thus a decrease in speed.

2. You are correct in stating Newton's first law of motion. When all engine power is lost, your spacecraft will continue to move at a constant velocity in a straight line, as long as there are no external forces acting on it. This is known as inertia. Inertia is the property of matter that resists changes in its motion. Therefore, when the engine power is lost, your spacecraft's motion will remain unchanged.

3. The motion of your craft when the engines fire up again and are constantly firing can be explained using Newton's third law of motion. Newton's third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

When the engines are firing up again and providing constant thrust, they create a force in one direction. According to Newton's third law, an equal and opposite reaction force acts on the spacecraft in the opposite direction. This propulsion force from the engines and the reaction force act as a pair of action-reaction forces, resulting in the spacecraft's continuous motion in the direction of the engines' thrust.

However, since the engines cannot be turned off or adjusted, the spacecraft will continue to accelerate indefinitely, as long as the engines are active. This would make it difficult to control or maneuver the spacecraft effectively.

I hope this explanation helps! Let me know if you have any more questions or if there's anything else I can assist you with.

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