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76

Using your definition of "falling," heavier objects do fall faster, and here's one way to justify it: consider the situation in the frame of reference of the center of mass of the two-body system (CM of the Earth and whatever you're dropping on it, for example). Each object exerts a force on the other of $$F = \frac{G m_1 m_2}{r^2}$$ where $r = x_2 - x_1$ ...

46

I am sorry to say, but your colleague is right. Of course, air friction acts in the same way. However, the friction is, in good approximation, proportional to the square of the velocity, $F=kv^2$. At terminal velocity, this force balances gravity, $$m g = k v^2$$ And thus $$v=\sqrt{\frac{mg}{k}}$$ So, the terminal velocity of a ball 10 times as ...

42

No. All parachutes, whether they are drag-only (round) or airfoil (rectangular) will sink. Some airflow is needed to stay inflated, and that airflow comes from the steady descent. Whether your net descent rate is positive or negative is a different question. It is quite easy to be under a parachute and end up rising (I have done it myself), you just need an ...

35

As other answers say, if someone just jumps off of the international space station(ISS), they would still be in orbit around the earth since the ISS is traveling at 17,000 miles per hour (at an altitude of 258 miles). Instead of just jumping, imagine the astronaut had a jet pack that could cancel that speed of 17,000 miles per hour in a very short time ...

24

It would be possible in theory, but only in a very side-thinking way: if you make a parachute so large it encapsulates the whole Earth, it will in effect act as a balloon and not fall down, due to the internal pressure of the atmosphere. This wouldn't work in practice for obvious reasons, but maybe in Kerbal you might be able to do something like it..

24

No. The answer is clearly no. This building is 800 meter high. Some comparison: Skydivers are falling more kilometers in free fall. They experience absolutely no damage from the pressure increase. Scuba divers moving fast upwardly or downwardly also don't get any wounds, although 10 meter deep water has the same pressure as there is between the sea level ...

20

Ball 1 will drop faster in air, but both balls will drop at the same speed in vacuum. In vacuum, there is only the gravitational force on each ball. That force is proportional to mass. The accelleration of a object due to a force is inversely proportional to its mass, so the mass cancels out. Each ball will accellerate the same, which is the ...

19

While everyone agrees that jumping in a falling elevator doesn't help much, I think it is very instructive to do the calculation. General Remarks The general nature of the problem is the following: while jumping, the human injects muscle energy into the system. Of course, the human doesn't want to gain even more energy himself, instead he hopes to transfer ...

12

It depends on how you define the problem. Humans have re-entered the atmosphere from the International Space Station many times, by riding in either a Space Shuttle or a Soyuz capsule. Someone re-entering without a spacecraft of some sort would obviously have to wear some kind of pressure suit (as Felix Baumgartner did in his jump). How elaborate is the ...

11

You will die. Terminal velocity is a bit more than 50 m/s. The bottom of your ramp appears to have a radius less than 2m. That means you'll be exposed to more than 125g as you zip around the bottom. Nice knowing you.

11

As an addition to already posted answers and while realising that experiments on Mythbusters don't really have the required rigour of physics experiments, the Mythbusters have tested this theory and concluded that: The jumping power of a human being cannot cancel out the falling velocity of the elevator. The best speculative advice from an elevator ...

11

it is because the Force at work here (gravity) is also dependent on the mass gravity acts on a body with mass m with $$F = mg$$ you will plug this in to $$F=ma$$ and you get $$ma = mg$$ $$a = g$$ and this is true for all bodies no matter what the mass is. Since they are accelerated the same and start with the same initial conditions (at rest and ...

11

The paradox appears because the "rest frame" of the Earth is not an inertial reference frame, it is accelerating. Keep yourself in the CM reference frame and, at least for two bodies, there is no paradox. Given an Earth of mass M, a body of mass $m_i$ will fall towards the center of mass $x_{CM}=(M x_M + m_i x_i)/(M+m_i)$ with an acceleration ...

11

He "only" flew at the maximum speed of 370 m/s or so which is much less than the speed of the meteoroids – the latter hit the Earth by speeds between 11,000 and 70,000 m/s. So he was about 2 orders of magnitude slower. The friction is correspondingly lower for Baumgartner. Note that even if he jumped from "infinity", he would only reach the escape velocity ...

11

Other answers & comments cover the difference in acceleration due to drag, which will be the largest effect, but don't forget that if you are in an atmosphere there will also be buoyancy to consider. The buoyancy provides an additional upward force on the balls that is equal to the weight of the displaced air. As it is the same force on each ball, the ...

11

While the stone is still travelling on the elevator, there are two forces acting on it, the force from the elevator to the stone, as well as the weight due to gravity. The moment the stone leaves the elevator, it becomes a free falling object. The elevator stops giving a force to the stone, and the only force remaining is its weight due to gravity. ...

11

Analyzing the acceleration of the center of mass of the system might be the easiest way to go since we could avoid worrying about internal interactions. Let's use Newton's second law: $\sum F=N-Mg=Ma_\text{cm}$, where $M$ is the total mass of the hourglass enclosure and sand, $N$ is what you read on the scale (normal force), and $a_\text{cm}$ is the center ...

11

A parachute is a device specifically designed to create viscous friction. Viscous friction generates a force that: is oriented opposite to the velocity; is proportional to (a certain power of [*]) the velocity. So the falling velocity will increase until the drag force (pointing upwards) becomes equal to the weight of the falling object (pointing ...

10

The reason that jumping can make a relatively large difference is that the kinetic energy is proportional to the square of the velocity. Thus relatively small changes to the velocity can result in relatively large changes to the kinetic energy. In addition, the velocity which a human can achieve in jumping is a substantial percentage of the velocity of fatal ...

10

If we are throwing two objects directly to the ground you are right. So from our kinematic equations: $$V_f = V_i + at$$ I would ask your teacher. What happens to the $V_f$ if $V_i=0$? Then Follow it up with what would $V_f$ be if $V_i$ was very large? The initial velocity DOES have an effect here. HOWEVER: Make sure that you are not misinterpreting ...

10

That is an excellent example for a nice quote I read on the internet: "Common sense may be common, but it certainly isn't sense" :-) As it is hard to lift heavy objects, we assume that it must be easier for them to drop. Now, Newton's laws point out that light and heavy objects will fall with the same velocity. But is there an intuitive reason? Yes! The ...

9

Newton's gravitational force is proportional to the mass of a body, $F=\frac{GM}{R^2}\times m$, where in the case you're thinking about $M$ is the mass of the earth, $R$ is the radius of the earth, and $G$ is Newton's gravitational constant. Consequently, the acceleration is $a=\frac{F}{m}=\frac{GM}{R^2}$, which is independent of the mass of the object. ...

9

indeed there would be a (very small) and homogenous pressure within the blob, coming from surface tension. This pressure is calculated by the Kelvin Equation and is significant in small droplets (reason for small droplets to have a higher vapour pressure than bulk liquid) In Your 100 m blob, this extra pressure is negligible of course. There is another ...

8

In the global, cartoon, sense, yes, this problem is equivalent to having a whole row of carefully designed, placed and arranged ramps so that you fall onto the first one, get "flung" out such that you then land on the next one and so on, until dissipation wastes away the energy. Obviously this can be done since it is the same principle as is used in say ...

8

OK, based on the comments I interpret the question as Universal gravitation tells us that the gravitation force on a heavy object is larger than that on a light object, so why doesn't the heavy one fall faster? Start with Newton's gravitation (as simplified for objects in the neighborhood of the Earth's surface): $$F_g = mg$$ The answer arises from ...

6

There are two ways that mass could effect the time of impact: (1) An object which is very massive has a stronger attraction to the earth. Logically, this might make the object fall faster and so reach the ground sooner. (2) An object which is very massive is difficult to get moving. (I.e. it has very high inertia.) Thus one might logically expect the very ...

6

The best way to prove something is wrong, is by performing a simple experiment, giving a counterexample. Take two identical objects (balls, pens, books). Throw one of the objects upwards and the other object downwards, so they have different initial velocities. The moment you let them go, they are in free fall. I am quite convinced the latter one will be one ...

6

Yes--- he argued as follows in Dialogue concerning the Two Principal World Systems: suppose you tie a heavy object to a light one with a rope, would the light object fall slower and retard the heavy object, or would the heavy and light object together be a heavy object that falls more quickly? He concludes that neither: they both fall at the same rate. This ...

6

Blaise Gassend has created this simulation of "An elevator that breaks at the counterweight.": More discussion of various possible failure modes of a space elevator: Blaise Gassend discusses and simulates other possible failure modes at Animation of a Broken Space Elevator by Blaise Gassend. Bradley Carl Edwards. "A Hoist to the Heavens". IEEE Spectrum ...

6

1) Why can't a balloon float into space? A balloon rises because it is filled with a gas that is less dense than the air surrounding the balloon. Roughly speaking, the atmosphere gets less dense the higher up you go, so the highest altitude your balloon can reach is simply the altitude where the density is the same as whatever you filled your balloon ...

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