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B Why don't humans orbit the earth?

  1. Oct 12, 2016 #1
    Let's say a single human exits the atmosphere? Why doesn't he orbit the earth like the moon does? Why does he drift in space instead?
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  3. Oct 12, 2016 #2


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    Your premise is incorrect because you are not specifying the initial conditions properly. What happens will depend on the speed an direction of how the person moves.
  4. Oct 12, 2016 #3


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    What makes you think he will "drift in space"? What does that even mean?
  5. Oct 12, 2016 #4


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    He doesn't drift in space. He falls back on earth. If he leaves a spaceship, he has all the orbital velocity the spaceship has, so he stays near the spaceship. It's the same thing as if you jump up and down in a train. You land on the place where you jumped off. If he leaves earth with the right velocity and angle, he could orbit earth.
  6. Oct 12, 2016 #5
    Okay I was just thinking about this in the wrong way. I thought why does the moon orbit the earth? Why can't a human? I guess it depends on his velocity
  7. Oct 12, 2016 #6


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    A human can. Think about what happens on a space walk outside the ISS. The man and ISS are both in orbit around the earth (hopefully extremely similar orbits!).
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