Posted by Brittany on .
If a 60 kg meteor falls to earth from a great distance. How much gravitational potential energy does it lose? (the energy PE is 0 at a great distance). What happens to this potential energy?
Final-Initial=-Gmm/r-0=change in energy
The potential energy decreases by an amount
G M m/R
Where M is the Earth's mass, m is the meteor mass, and R is the radius of the Earth. G is the universal constant of gravity.
That energy increases the kinetic and thermal energy of the meteor and the atmosphere through which it passes.