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Conservation of Energy in Space

  1. Feb 1, 2015 #1
    Imagine bringing a toaster and a slice of bread into space. After doing so, we were to toast the slice, measure the temperature after toasted, then chuck the piece of toast out into space quickly before too much heat transfers. After a week goes by, we find the piece of toast and bring it back into the spacecraft then quickly measure it.

    I would like to know whether the temperature of that piece of toast would raise, lower, or stay the same without having to spend $50,000 to bring those 2 kilograms or so into space. My understanding of this is that it would raise temperature due to the photons of the sun, unless it were to somehow be caught up in some gas cloud, where it would lose heat.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    What do you think the energy balance equation would look like? If you are in deep space with no insolation, you would use black body radiation to calculate the loss of heat. If you are close to an energy source like in close orbit near a star, the insolation would be part of the energy balance, no?
  4. Feb 2, 2015 #3


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    If your toast is so close to the sun, that radiation heats it beyond what a toaster does, why did you need a toaster in the first place?
  5. Feb 2, 2015 #4
    Just as an example that it leaves the space craft with a heat higher than room temperature.
  6. Feb 2, 2015 #5
    I have not gone over the energy balance equation in my high school classroom yet, but with some researching of the keywords that you've said, I did get a better understanding of what would happen, thank you.
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