Apr 30, 2010

Question Two: Drop

If you throw a ball level with the ground and drop a ball from the same hight which will hit the ground first?

Well of course the dropped ball. It travels the least distance. Right? Not really.
lets look at what is going on. Get in your car have some one else drive. Now sit still and drop the ball. Next  head down a straight road at a good speed. Repeat the drop it. What happened? It took about the same time didn't it? The first test the relative speed of the car was zero, then the speed was say fifty mph. You can do this in your head if you want. They both "fell" at the same speed whether or not the car was moving.

So what is going on here? People equate time with distance. This is only natural as it takes time to move a distance. Objects fall in time at the same rate as all other objects regardless of weight or size. So when an object falls it is pulled down at the same rate wether or not it is moving laterally with the ground or not. So when you toss an object level with the ground it will fall at the same rate as an object dropped. This principle is what allows us to have satellites in orbit.

A beautiful experiment to prove this point was done on Mythbuster's, where they shoot a bullet and drop a bullet.


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