Purchase Solution

Closest distance of meteor approaching Earth

Not what you're looking for?

Ask Custom Question

A meteor is moving at a speed of 32000 km/hr relative to the centre of Earth at a point
560 km from the surface of the Earth. At this time it has a radial velocity of 6400 km/hr.
How close does it come to the Earth's surface? (RE =6373 km)

Purchase this Solution

Solution Summary

We derive the solution from first principles using conservation of energy and conservation of angular momentum.

Solution Preview

Let's formulate this problem in more general terms: We have a meteor that is moving at some velocity v1. We know what the magnitude of the velocity, i.e. the speed |v1|, is when it is at a point 560 km above the Earth's surface:

|v1| = 32000 km/hr

Also we know the radial component of v1 at that point, which we can denote as vr1. According to the given figure in the problem, we have:

vr1 = - 6400 km/hr

at that point when the meteor is 560 km from the surface of the Earth. The minus sign is infered from the way the problem is formulated; the problem strongly suggests that the meteor is approaching Earth.

The tangential component of the velocity, vt1, at that point is then fixed as we have:

|v1|^2 = vr1^2 + vt1^2 ------------>

vt1 = 31353 km/hr

This is thus at a point 560 km above the surface of the Earth, which is at

r1 = Re + 560 km = 6933 km from the center of the Earth.

We want to find how close the meteor comes to the surface of the Earth. Obviously, at the point ...

Purchase this Solution

Free BrainMass Quizzes
Introduction to Nanotechnology/Nanomaterials

This quiz is for any area of science. Test yourself to see what knowledge of nanotechnology you have. This content will also make you familiar with basic concepts of nanotechnology.

Classical Mechanics

This quiz is designed to test and improve your knowledge on Classical Mechanics.

Basic Physics

This quiz will test your knowledge about basic Physics.

The Moon

Test your knowledge of moon phases and movement.

Variables in Science Experiments

How well do you understand variables? Test your knowledge of independent (manipulated), dependent (responding), and controlled variables with this 10 question quiz.