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Homework Help: Minimum distance between two satellites

  1. Oct 26, 2012 #1
    A space base has traced stallites A and B at a particular moment at:
    A0 = (a1,0,a3) B0 = (0,b2,b3)
    whereas the base itself is located at the origin (0,0,0) and the satellites move at constant velocities with respect to the base:
    Va = (Va,0,0) Vb = (Vb,Vb,0)

    The minimum distance between satellites A and B ought to be computed.

    My proposed solution:

    OA = A0 + Va * t = (a1,0,a3) + (Va,0,0)t
    OB = B0 + Vb * t = (0,b2,b3) + (Vb,Vb,0)t

    I found the minimum distance to be:

    SQRT[1/2(a1+b2)^2 + (b3-a3)^2]

    Am I correct? Could someone please confirm?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2012 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Doesn't look right to me.

    The Wikipedia article on skew lines might be helpful, particularly the section on the distance between skew lines.
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