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Gravitational Potential Energy (Multiple Choice Question)

  1. Dec 9, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    [​IMG]

    Question:
    Rank the paths according to the corresponding change in the gravitational potential energy of the rocket–moon system, greatest first.

    A. 1 > 3 > 5 > 2 = 4 = 6
    B. 2 = 4 = 6 > 5 > 3 > 1
    C. 1 = 2 = 3 = 4 = 5 = 6
    D. 1 > 2 = 4 = 6 > 3 > 5

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I'm not understanding the question. I guess it would be A, but I'm not sure why.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2011 #2

    Delphi51

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    Probably "1>3" means orbit 1's energy is greater than orbit 3's energy.
     
  4. Dec 9, 2011 #3
    Sorry I forgot to include the question.
     
  5. Dec 9, 2011 #4

    Delphi51

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    That "changes" things! It must mean the change going from a to b. Potential energy only. Much easier. You will want to have your formula for grav potential energy handy.
     
  6. Dec 9, 2011 #5
    The formula is Grav potential energy= -GMm / r

    I think the answer would be either A or B.
     
  7. Dec 9, 2011 #6

    Delphi51

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    It seems clear to me you are misunderstanding something, but I'm not supposed to just tell you the answer. Can you explain your reasoning leading to A or B? They are rather different! A says path 1 has the highest change in PE while B says path 1 has the lowest change in PE. Both say 2, 4 and 6 have the same energy - why do you think that is true?
     
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