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Splitting an asteroid

  1. Jan 20, 2010 #1
    An explosive charge breaks up an asteroid into two pieces, of 2x1012kg and 3x1012kg respectively. If the first alters course by 2ms-1, by how much does the second alter course?

    I really don't know where to start on this. It must be about conservation of momentum, but i don't get how to do this without an angle or initial speed.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2010 #2


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    Welcome to PF!

    Hi TheTourist! Welcome to PF! :wink:

    The laws of physics work in any inertial frame, so choose whatever inertial frame makes the calculations easiest.

    In this case, choose the rest frame of the asteroid …

    then its initial speed is zero, and the fragments will go at opposite angles. :smile:
  4. Jan 21, 2010 #3
    Thats great thanks, got the exam this morning so that was some good advice!
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