February 28, 2017

Homework Help: Astronaut launches bowling ball

Posted by David on Monday, July 28, 2014 at 12:20am.

A 100 kg astronaut carries a launcher loaded with a 10 kg bowling ball; the launcher and the astronaut’s spacesuit have negligible mass. The astronaut discovers that firing the launcher results
in the ball moving away from her at a relative speed of 50 m/s.

The astronaut in the previous situation is now moving at 10 m/s (as measured in a certain frame
of reference). She wishes to fire the launcher so that her velocity turns through as large an angle
as possible (in this frame of reference). What is this maximum angle? (Hint: a diagram may be

The answer is 27 degrees. I do not know how. I think she must fire the ball perpendicularly to her velocity, but I instead got 29 degrees as my answer. Help?

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