# 6. Space research and exploration of space increases our understanding of the Earth‘s own environment, the Solar System and the Universe. 4. Rapid advances.

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6. Space research and exploration of space increases our understanding of the Earth‘s own environment, the Solar System and the Universe. 4. Rapid advances in technologies over the past fifty years have allowed the exploration of not only the Moon, but the Solar System and, to an increasing extent, the Universe. Space exploration is becoming more viable. 1. Scientists have drawn on advances in areas such as aeronautics, materials science, robotics, electronics, medicine and energy production to develop viable spacecraft. 2. Perhaps the most dangerous parts of any space mission are the launch, re-entry and landing. A huge force is required to propel the rocket a sufficient distance from the Earth so that it is able to either escape the Earth’s gravitational pull or maintain an orbit. 3. Following a successful mission, re- entry through the Earth’s atmosphere provides further challenges to scientists if astronauts are to return to Earth safely. 5. Information from research undertaken in space programs has impacted on society through the development of devices such as personal computers, advanced medical equipment, communication satellites and the accurate mapping of natural resources. 7. This module increases students’ understanding of the history, nature and practice of physics and the implications for the environment.

Gather secondary information to predict the value of acceleration due to gravity on other planets 1. The Earth has a gravitational field that exerts a force on objects both on it and around it What planets should I travel to if I want to lose some weight? W W W W W W

Analyse information using the expression F=mg to determine the weight force for a body on Earth and for the same body on other planets (a) 1 mark Siobhan is a mass of 55kg accelerating at 2 m/s 2 downwards F = ma F = 55 x 2 F = 110 N (b)1 mark Reaction force, R, is reduced, so R = mg – ma mg = ma + R g = (ma + R)/m g = (110 + 94)/55 g = 3.7 ms -2

Perform an investigation and gather information to determine a value for acceleration due to gravity using pendulum motion or computer assisted technology and identify reasons for possible variations from the value 9.8 m/s 2 Experiment: Computer simulation of pendulum

PLUS human errors in timing… Identify reasons for possible variations from the value 9.8 m/s 2

The value of acceleration due to gravity at the surface of the Earth varies from the usually accepted value of 9.8 m s -2, due to a number of factors: The Earth’s lithosphere varies in structure, thickness and density. Thickness variations are a product of the source and history of the material. Oceanic crust is thinner than continental crust. Continental crust is thickest under mountain ranges. Density variations occur due to the presence of concentrated and large mineral deposits or petroleum gas and related liquids trapped in sedimentary rocks and structures. All of these variations can influence local values of g. (NSW HSC on-line …continued over…)

Identify reasons for possible variations from the value 9.8 m/s 2 The Earth’s globe is flattened at the poles. This means that the distance of the surface from the centre of the Earth is less at the poles, which increases the local value of g. The spinning Earth also affects the value of g. At the equator, the spin effect is greatest resulting in a lowering of the value of g. As you travel from the equator to the poles, the spin effect on g shrinks to zero. As a result of the above, the value of g at the surface of the Earth varies between 9.782 m s -2 at the equator and 9.832 m s -2 at the poles The value of g reduces with altitude above the surface of a planet, becoming zero only at an infinite distance. At low Earth orbit altitude, the value of g is approximately 8.9 ms -2. (NSW HSC on-line)

Using Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, you need the mass and radius of the planet. 1. The Earth has a gravitational field that exerts a force on objects both on it and around it Define weight. What information do I need to predict the acceleration due to gravity on other planets? Identify reasons for possible variations from the value 9.8 m/s 2. The value of acceleration due to gravity at the surface of the Earth varies from the usually accepted value of 9.8 m s -2, due to a number of factors: The Earth’s lithosphere varies in structure, thickness and density. Thickness variations are a product of the source and history of the material. Oceanic crust is thinner than continental crust. Continental crust is thickest under mountain ranges. Density variations occur due to the presence of concentrated and large mineral deposits or petroleum gas and related liquids trapped in sedimentary rocks and structures. All of these variations can influence local values of g. The Earth’s globe is flattened at the poles. This means that the distance of the surface from the centre of the Earth is less at the poles, which increases the local value of g. The spinning Earth also affects the value of g. At the equator, the spin effect is greatest resulting in a lowering of the value of g. As you travel from the equator to the poles, the spin effect on g shrinks to zero. As a result of the above, the value of g at the surface of the Earth varies between 9.782 m s -2 at the equator and 9.832 m s -2 at the poles The value of g reduces with altitude above the surface of a planet, becoming zero only at an infinite distance. At low Earth orbit altitude, the value of g is approximately 8.9 ms -2. (NSW HSC on-line)

Potential Energy increases as distance increases, and E p at infinity = 0, hence the negative sign. So if r decreases, P.E. decreases (becomes more negative). Define gravitational potential energy as the work done to move an object from a very large distance away to a point in a gravitational field E p = -Gm 1 m 2 /r Where r = distance between centres of mass To calculate the energy required to move a mass in a gravitational field or change in energy, calculate E p for both points and work out the difference r m1m1 m2m2

Define gravitational potential energy. How do I calculate the ‘energy required to move a mass in a gravitational field’ or ‘change in energy’? Where r = distance between centres of mass Calculate E p for both points and work out the difference r m1m1 m2m2 Gravitational potential energy is the work done to move an object from a very large distance away to a point in a gravitational field E p = -Gm 1 m 2 /r.

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