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Homework Help: Changing the course of an asteroid

  1. May 22, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Hello all,

    I am really having trouble with following. I want to find the answer myself, but i do not know what equation/s i should apply to solve the problem.

    My Question.

    How long will it take to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth by attaching a 2000N thruster. I must change the course of the asteroid by 12 Earth diameters. Mass of the Asteroid is 1.3x10^2 kg

    Thank you in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2009 #2


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    Science Advisor

    You have a distance that needs to be traveled. You have mass and force, so you have acceleration. How would you relate acceleration, distance and time?
  4. May 23, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the reply

    Presumably I rearrange F=ma to find the acceleration

    F = 2000 N
    m = mass of asteroid? 1.3x10^12

    Since the asteroid has an initial velocity of (20,000 m/s) i suppose i should use the following equation (rearranged to find time):


    Vi = initial velocity (20,000 m/s)
    a = acceleration (found in the first part)
    t = time
    d = distance (known)
  5. May 26, 2009 #4


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    No, remember that velocity is a vector, it has both magnitude and direction. Because it says that the astroid is on a collision course, you can assume that the direction is pointed directly towards Earth.

    However, you simply want to change the course of it. What is the astroid's velocity in the two directions not towards earth?
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