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Meaning of sentence

  1. Nov 30, 2005 #1
    What does it mean by the sentence:

    The curvature of Mars is such that its surface drops a vertical distance of 2 meters for every 3600 meters tangent to the surface.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2005 #2
    A tangent to a circle is a straight line that just about touches the edge of the circle somewhere (anywhere). So imagine a huge straight edge resting on Mars' surface. If you were to follow that straight edge from the point it touches Mars for 3600 meters, you would find that the straight edge is now 2 meters above the surface of Mars, such is the curvature of Mars.
     
  4. Nov 30, 2005 #3

    DaveC426913

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    Gold Member

    See diagram A for a literal translation of the sentence.
    See diagram B for its significance.

    It means that, to a 2m tall person, Mars' horizon is a mere 3600m away.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2006
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