A stick in space

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Main Question or Discussion Point

If there is a stick in space and you provide an impulse on one end of the stick, then will it rotate or will it simply undergo translational motion in a straight line?

If you have the stick on earth on top of a surface then it will rotate about its centre of mass which acts as the pivot. However in space, in the absence of a gravitational field or friction I'd imagine that there is no obvious pivot point which means that the stick will just travel in a straight line in the direction the impulse was in. Am I right?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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It will rotate. You have provided both a force and a torque, so it will rotate. Also, objects still have a center of mass, even if they are not in a gravitational field.
 

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