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The problem:

Killer Asteroid

Some data:

Mass of Earth = 6.0 x 10

Radius of Earth = 6.4 x 10³ km

Gravitational constant G = 6.67 x 10

You receive an urgent phone call from NASA. Their scientists have just detected an asteroid headed for Earth. Its mass is 6 x 10 15 kg, which is only one billionth the mass of Earth, but even so, larger than the dinosaur extinction asteroid. The asteroid is 4.5 x 10

My problem with this problem:

What my professor started to do on the board was ignored the v

I think we were supposed to use the three conservation principles to solve this type of problem (cons. of linear momentum, cons. of angular momentum, cons. of mechanical energy) but I don't see how it's possible to use the first two principles because there

I'm not really seeking a solution so much as principles by which to approach this species of problem because it seems that the conservation principles aren't enough. Thank you in advance.

Killer Asteroid

Some data:

Mass of Earth = 6.0 x 10

^{24}kgRadius of Earth = 6.4 x 10³ km

Gravitational constant G = 6.67 x 10

^{−11}N-m/kg²You receive an urgent phone call from NASA. Their scientists have just detected an asteroid headed for Earth. Its mass is 6 x 10 15 kg, which is only one billionth the mass of Earth, but even so, larger than the dinosaur extinction asteroid. The asteroid is 4.5 x 10

^{9}km away from Earth’s center and is moving at 2.5 x 10^{4}m/s. The asteroid’s present heading gives it a straight-line trajectory (i.e. its path if there was no gravity) that would miss Earth’s surface by only 3200 km. Quick! Will the asteroid strike Earth?My problem with this problem:

What my professor started to do on the board was ignored the v

_{0}= 2.5 x 10^{4}m/s parameter provided and said there was some initial velocity v you could solve for such that the asteroid would just graze the surface of the Earth tangentially, and if v_{0}< v then the asteroid would collide with Earth but if v_{0}> v then the asteroid would fly into space. At this point I got a nosebleed and had to leave the classroom before seeing how he solved for v on the board.I think we were supposed to use the three conservation principles to solve this type of problem (cons. of linear momentum, cons. of angular momentum, cons. of mechanical energy) but I don't see how it's possible to use the first two principles because there

*is*a net force and there*is*a net torque (With the center of Earth as the origin). If you only set up a relationship with conservation of mechanical energy, then you can solve for a velocity of the asteroid at the surface of the Earth from the initial kinetic energy and the difference in potential energy, but there is no way to tell whether the asteroid would be grazing the surface or striking the surface.I'm not really seeking a solution so much as principles by which to approach this species of problem because it seems that the conservation principles aren't enough. Thank you in advance.

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