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How does the weight of a Mars lander change as it travels from Earth to Mars? Does the weight ever equal zero? Does the mass of the lander change? Explain your answer. (Hint: restrict your analysis to a system consisting of Earth, Mars and lander.)

  • Phizzics.... -

    The weight of an object is the force on the object due to gravity. It is the product of the mass m of the object and the magnitude of the local gravitational acceleration g (depends on the distance from the center of the Earth R)
    If g→0 (at R →∞) weight →0 (weightlessness)

    G•m•M(Earth)/x² = G•m•M(Mars)/(d-x)².
    where d is the distance between thwe centers of the Earth and Mars.
    M(Earth)/x² = M(Mars)/(d-x)².
    Solving for x we can find the distance from the center of the Earth where the atractions “lander- Earth” and “lander-Mars” are equal.
    Mass doesn’t change.

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