Unformatted text preview: efine “gravitational potential”. Also,
Why do people work with electric potentials instead of working directly with
Coulomb’s Law to calculate electrical forces? – Page 1 of 2 – 4. A low Earth orbit for a satellite (or the Space Shuttle), no more than a few
hundred kilometers over the surface of the Earth, has an orbital period of 90
minutes. Interestingly, the Messenger spacecraft, which entered a low orbit
around Mercury in March 2011, also has an orbital period of about 90 minutes.
The orbital periods of the spacecraft in low Martian orbit are also in the
neighborhood of 90 minutes (actually just a bit longer). These are objects with
radically different masses. Why would all these orbits have similar periods?
a. What physical characteristics do the Earth, Mercury, and Mars all have
roughly similar values of despite their differing masses? HINT: Orbits
depend on gravity and gravity depends on mass. So this physical
characteristic must be related to mass. HINT #2: Consider what is similar
about the Earth, Mercury, and Mars and see if you can use the planetary
physical data from Appendix C, attached to this problem set, to compute...
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- Spring '14
- Planet, Gravitational forces, Orbital Period, Low Earth orbit, clear written explanation