There was this question we did in class. There is a satellite orbiting the Earth. It runs into some particles, and due to friction, the satellite loses speed. We were asked to predict what will happen now and why ( assuming it doesn't run into a rough patch again and doesn't get to the Earth's atmosphere).
I came up with this:
- Speed decreases so the the satellite starts moving closer to Earth.
- As it does so, the force of gravity gets stronger and again the object moves closer to the Earth.
Is this right somewhat? The reason I doubt is that the satellite loses kinetic energy due to friction, but my prediction also makes it lose potential energy without making up for it ( Maybe this speeds up the object in the direction in line with the gravitational field sort of like when a ball drops from a height?) Also, my teacher said the satellite should gain tangential velocity, but I could not identify any force acting in this direction so as to speed up the satellite. How did tangential velocity increase?
Basically, any help on how my thinking is off and what I need to consider in this situation will be helpful.