PHY101 Introductory Physics With Laboratory


As an astronaut on the International Space Station, you are still orbiting Earth.

You cannot move between compartments and you stop moving.

You can describe several ways to move again. The principle of conservation-of-momentum will help you determine how effective each one is.

What is the best way to finally reach your destination at the station?

Answer to Question: PHY101 Introductory Physics With Laboratory

A space station is a large satellite designed to be occupied for extended periods by astronauts and serves as the base for scientific operations in space.

Space stations have different environmental conditions than the earth’s normal atmosphere.

To facilitate movement, astronauts use handholds in international space station.

This paper outlines the different approaches that an astronaut could use to move if they are unable to access handholds.

This paper also uses the principle conservation of to assess how each approach will work, putting into consideration the principle conservation of momentum.

To avoid making mistakes that could be fatal, the astronaut must have a good understanding of how motion occurs in international space stations.

Brosing (2014) states that the principle of conversational momentum is: the total momentum between two bodies prior to collision equals the total momentum between them after collision if the collision occurs in an isolated system.

Because the international space station is an isolated structure, its overall momentum remains constant.

Momentum is the product of velocity and mass. Therefore momentum is also a vector number.

This principle is crucial in relation to motion at the space station.

The first thing an astronaut can do to move again after losing their handholds is “swimming”.

The buoyancy of zero-gravity space is lower than water, however (Kolev 2015).

Because of the frictionless issue, stopping when the astronaut reaches their destination will be difficult. Therefore, they may crash onto an object. According to the conservation principle of momentum, the collision could be elastic or inelastic.

Due to the many complications associated with this approach, it is not recommended.

Another approach is to throw an object in your hands and use enough momentum to propel you to the destination.

The astronaut will be accelerated by the reaction force generated by the object being thrown in the opposite direction of the action force, allowing them to reach their destination (Stenzel 2016,).

This object will have the same momentum as the action force and may collide with critical components of the station, causing disruption to operations.

This is why this approach is not an option.

An alternative approach for an astronaut to reach their destination is to push against the walls until they get there.

The wall’s reaction force gives the astronaut velocity.

The astronaut can “bounce” from wall to wall until he reaches his destination.

This method is in line with the conservation principle of momentum (Brosing 2014).

This approach is the most popular because it is low on stopping changes and eliminates the possibility of objects floating in space.

The space station’s motion is governed by the principle of conservation and momentum.

To ensure success of the mission, there are many precautions.

Refer to

Conservation of generalized momentum maps in mechanical optical control problems with symmetry.

Chicago Publishers.

Physics of everyday phenomena.

New York: New York Press.

Conservation of Momentum.

(2016). Whistler waves using angular momentum in space or laboratory plasmas.

California: Longhorn Publishers.

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