# Can the Crew's Plan to Fragment an Asteroid Succeed?

• phalanx123
In summary, the crew's plan to break the 2kg rock heading towards the space station with a 3kg rocket traveling at 1000 m/s can succeed. The rocket's kinetic energy of 1.25*10^6 J is higher than the minimum energy required to fragment the rock. However, it is important to note that the rocket's velocity of 1000 m/s is relative to the station, not the asteroid. Therefore, the rocket's velocity relative to the asteroid must be taken into account, which would be 1100 m/s. It is also possible to calculate the rocket's kinetic energy relative to the station and then subtract the rock's kinetic energy from it.
phalanx123
Hi I got this question, it looks like its simple. But I don't know if I've done it right or not? Please help me check it.

A 2kg rock is heading straight for a space station at a speed of 100 m/s. The crew plan to break the rock up into small fragments by hitting it with a rocket of 3kg traveling at 1000 m/s. If it takes 1.0 *10^6 J to fragment the rock, show wether or not their plan can succeed. (Speed are given in the station' s frame.

I simply said that the rocket will have a kinetic energy of 1/2mv^2=1/2*3*1000^2=1.25*10^6 J. SO this is higher than the minimum energy required to break the rock, so the plan will work.

But it is so simple I think I've missed some information heere. Could somebody give me a little help please? Thank you

Although I imagine the answer would still be "yes", not that the 1000 m/s you use for the rocket's velocity is relative to the space station not the asteroid. Of course, it is the rocket's velocity relative to the asteroid that will be converted into energy to break it apart. If the rocket is going 1000 m/s directly away from the space station, and the asteroid is going 100 m/s directly toward the space station, what is the rocket's speed relative to the asteroid?

Oh I see, so I have to use 1100 m/s instead of 1000 m/s. Ah that makes more sense. Thank you very much. I am also wondering if it's correct to do it this way: calculate the rocket's kinetic energy relative to the station first then take away the kinetic energy of the rock relative to the station from the rocket's kinetic energy? Anybody got any ideas? Thanks.

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## What causes an asteroid to fragment?

The most common cause of asteroid fragmentation is collisions with other objects in space. This can be caused by other asteroids, comets, or gravitational forces from planets or moons.

## How does fragmentation affect the trajectory of an asteroid?

Fragmentation can significantly alter the trajectory of an asteroid. Depending on the size and distribution of the fragments, the asteroid's trajectory can become more erratic or even break apart completely.

## Can asteroid fragmentation pose a threat to Earth?

Yes, asteroid fragmentation can pose a threat to Earth. If a large asteroid breaks apart, it can create multiple impact points on Earth, causing widespread damage and potentially leading to a mass extinction event.

## Can we predict when an asteroid will fragment?

It is difficult to predict exactly when an asteroid will fragment. However, scientists can track potentially hazardous asteroids and monitor them for signs of fragmentation, which can help in predicting potential impacts.

## What impact does fragmentation have on the study of asteroids?

Fragmentation can provide valuable insights into the composition and structure of asteroids. By studying the fragments, scientists can learn more about the asteroid's history and formation, as well as potential hazards and risks associated with it.

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