I think I understand the concept of conservation of momentum in an inelastic collision. However, what if two objects, one being more massive than the other, started out together and then separated (via a mechanism), wouldn't the object of smaller mass gain velocity after the separation due to conservation of momentum?
Examples I can think of are:
- A skateboarder riding on a frictionless surface and he jumps up off the skateboard.
- A rocket dropping a stage that is heavier(even after all the fuel is spent) than the next stage.
- An astronaut is holding onto an object more massive than himself in outer space. He then simply lets go of the larger object, not applying any force to the object.