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Escape Velocity - Fields

  1. May 9, 2012 #1
    Hi,

    A space probe is launched from the equator in the direction of the north pole of the Earth. During launch the energy given to the probe of mass m is

    E=(3GMm/RE)

    Deduce that the Space probe will not be able to travel into deep space.

    That is a past paper question my teacher gave me. I am very confused because I was confident it would be able to escape due to the fact the energy is three time that required:

    GMm/RE

    Anyone has any explanations or is the question just wrong?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2012 #2
    Nevermind, looks like the question was mis-typed.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  4. May 9, 2012 #3

    gneill

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If the north pole in question happens to be the geographic north pole, then the probe would have to travel through the body of the Earth to get there! :smile:

    The question is a bit vague in that it doesn't specify whether the energy imparted is the total mechanical energy with respect to the center of the Earth, the kinetic energy w.r.t. to the launch point frame of reference, or whether it includes the contribution of the Earth's rotation at the point of launch.

    If it's the kinetic energy imparted to the probe by all sources with respect to the center of the Earth then subtract the gravitational potential energy and see if the result is negative, zero, or positive and declare accordingly.

    EDIT: It occurs to me that the answer to the question may depend upon the definition of the term "deep space". If it implies escape from the Solar System itself, then you'll need to consider another major gravitational potential...
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  5. May 9, 2012 #4
    Looked at the marking scheme and they use a (3GMm/4RE) so I guess it was a missprint. Thanks everyone nonetheless!
     
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