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Homework Help: Odd physics question not sure how to answer

  1. Oct 18, 2009 #1
    A space explorer is moving through space far from any planet or star and notices a large rock, taken as a specimen from an alien planet, floating around the cabin of the ship. Should the explorer push it gently or kick it toward the storage compartment? Why?

    I have NO idea which is correct. lol
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2009 #2


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    What would you do? And why?
  4. Oct 18, 2009 #3
    Depends on the size of the rock, but due to inertia you are better off pushing it gently...

    if you wouldn't kick a large rock hung by a string on earth, than you don't want to kick it in space. the fact is for the purposes of this demonstration gravity has no effect on lateral movement.

    In other words the rocks inertial resistance will be the same on earth as it would be in space.

    The whole thing about being far away from a planet or sun is really pointless, other than to say you will only be contending with the rocks inertia unaffected by an outside force pushing against your foot through the rock. but if the rocks is floating in the middle of the space ship than the whole discussion of external gravitational forces is moot. (only relative motion would matter)

    The point of this question is to demonstrate inertia.
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