- #1

Keith Koenig

- 12

- 1

The most likely procedure would be to release a small test mass from the end of a long rod and measure its acceleration

**a**toward the center of mass of the ship at a known distance

**R**from the center of mass, or equivalently time the distance to travel a known distance from a known starting distance and do the math to effectively determine

**a**at

**R**. We know from Newton's law of gravity that regardless of the distance

**R**at which they measure

**a**, the product of

**a**and the square of

**R**has the same value,

**and that value uniquely identifies the mass of the ship**.

What is the likelihood that if this crew is not from earth, they would convert this value from its natural units of length cubed per time squared to some other made-up thing like the "shrock", which is based for example on the density of methane? They might have a

**name**for one unit of length cubed per unit of time squared, but why exactly do we earthlings mask the natural units of mass by dividing by

**G**, the gravitational constant?

That's an honest question. One I don't think we have considered in a very long time.