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Homework Help: Conservation of Momentum possibly?

  1. Mar 22, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    An space traveler is eating his lunch in his spaceship when he realizes he has drifted into the middle of the room and can not grab any of the walls. Stuck, floating without gravity to pull him to the floor, he comes up with an idea.

    He realizes that if he starts throwing his lunch in one direction, he will float the other way due to conservation of momentum. He quickly calculates that if he throws his entire lunch at once, he will float at a speed of 1 m/s towards the wall.

    However, the crafty spaceman doesn’t want to part with his Meatloaf. How fast can he float towards the wall if he throws everything in his lunch except his meatloaf? Assume he weighs 150kg and the meatloaf weighs .5kg.

    2. Relevant equations

    Not sure

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Not sure where to begin.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2012 #2


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    Homework Helper

    There doesn't seem to be sufficient information to solve this problem. Does the space traveler throw the lunch without meatloaf at a faster speed, and if so, does the lighter lunch end up with the same momentum as the heavier lunch? This would assume the space traveler imparted the same impulse (force x time) in both cases, but that would involve more power (force x speed) in the second case.
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