# Solving the Spacewalking Astronaut Problem

• turtledove
In summary, the problem involves a spacewalking astronaut pushing a satellite and determining their distance apart after a certain amount of time. Using the equations for force and acceleration, the initial acceleration is calculated and used to find the distance traveled. However, this is incorrect as the force is applied in both directions and the acceleration only acts for a limited time. Impulse-momentum and conservation of momentum principles may provide a more accurate solution.
turtledove

## Homework Statement

A 68.7 kg spacewalking astronaut pushes off a 653.0 kg satellite, exerting a 153.0 N force for the 0.763 s it takes him to straighten his arms. How far apart are the astronaut and the satellite after 9.36 min?

## Homework Equations

d = vit + 1/2 at^2

## The Attempt at a Solution

F = ma
153 = (653 + 68.7) a
a = 0.211 m/s^2

d = 0 = 1/2 (0.211)(561.6)^2
= 33203 m

This is incorrect, what am i doing wrong here?

turtledove said:

## Homework Statement

A 68.7 kg spacewalking astronaut pushes off a 653.0 kg satellite, exerting a 153.0 N force for the 0.763 s it takes him to straighten his arms. How far apart are the astronaut and the satellite after 9.36 min?

## Homework Equations

d = vit + 1/2 at^2

## The Attempt at a Solution

F = ma
153 = (653 + 68.7) a
a = 0.211 m/s^2

d = 0 = 1/2 (0.211)(561.6)^2
= 33203 m

This is incorrect, what am i doing wrong here?
You are doing a few things wrong. The force is applied to the satellite by the astronaut, and the satellite applies that same force to the astronaut, in the opposite direction, per Newton 3. The acceleration acts only during the first 0.763 seconds, after which there is no longer any force, and thus, no more acceleration, and each move apart at different constant velocities. You might want to try impulse-momentum and conservation of momentum principles.

## 1. What is the "Spacewalking Astronaut Problem"?

The Spacewalking Astronaut Problem refers to the challenge of safely and efficiently conducting extravehicular activities (EVAs) in space. This includes tasks such as repairs, maintenance, and exploration outside of a spacecraft or space station.

## 2. What are the main challenges of solving the Spacewalking Astronaut Problem?

The main challenges of solving the Spacewalking Astronaut Problem include the extreme conditions of space, such as radiation and microgravity, as well as the limited resources and time available during an EVA. There is also the risk of equipment failure or human error, which could have serious consequences for the astronauts.

## 3. How do scientists and engineers approach solving the Spacewalking Astronaut Problem?

Scientists and engineers use a combination of theoretical models, simulations, and real-world testing to develop and improve spacewalking procedures and equipment. They also work closely with astronauts to understand their needs and limitations, and incorporate their feedback into the design and implementation process.

## 4. What are some current solutions to the Spacewalking Astronaut Problem?

Some current solutions to the Spacewalking Astronaut Problem include advanced spacesuits with better mobility and life support systems, specialized tools and equipment for specific tasks, and robotic assistance to reduce the workload on astronauts. Training and preparation for EVAs also play a critical role in ensuring successful outcomes.

## 5. How might solving the Spacewalking Astronaut Problem impact future space exploration?

Solving the Spacewalking Astronaut Problem will enable more complex and longer-duration EVAs, which could facilitate deeper space exploration and more ambitious missions. It will also improve the safety and efficiency of spacewalks, making them a more viable option for routine maintenance and repairs on future spacecraft and space stations.

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