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Grade: 11

                        

In November 1984, astronauts Joe Allen and Dale Gardner salvaged a Westar-6 communication satellite from a faulty orbit and placed it into the cargo bay of the space shuttle Discovery; see Fig. 3-22. Describe the experience, Joe Allen said of the satellite, “It’s not heavy; it’s massive.” What did he mean?

5 years ago

Answers : (1)

Kevin Nash
askIITians Faculty
332 Points
							Mass is the quantity of matter that contained in the body. So, qualitatively, the mass of a body is the opposition offered by a body when a force tries to produce acceleration in it. Thus, it is the property of a body that determines its resistance to a change in its motion.
The Earth’s gravity exerts a downward force on any object near its surface. That object is attracted directly toward the center of the Earth with a force we call the object’s weight. So the downward force of the Earth’s gravity acting on the body is called the weight of the body.
The satellite’s weight is proportional to the local strength of gravity, which is measured by a downward vector called the acceleration due to gravity. Thus the weight of the satellite is different for different place, since the value of g is different for different place. But mass of the body will remain constant everywhere like Earth’s surface and surface of the Mars. It does not vary place to place. Therefore, the mass of a body does not vary with changes in its local weight. Again the true weightlessness can achieve by the satellite in the deep space where there is no gravity, even the satellite having mass. The word is massive is coming from the mass. Since mass of the satellite remain constant everywhere, therefore it is better to say the satellite is massive not heavy.
5 years ago
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