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Space Science

Orbiting the Earth

Satellites that orbit Earth, including the moon, do not always stay the same distance from Earth. The closest point a satellite comes to Earth is called its perigee. The farthest point is the apogee. For planets, the point in their orbit closest to the sun is perihelion. The farthest point is called aphelion.

diagram of earth's orbit

Interpret

At which point Is the planet closest to the sun?

  • Perihelion
  • Aphelion
  • Perigee
  • Apogee

diagram of earth's orbit

Interpret

At which point Is the planet closest to the sun?

  • Perihelion
  • Aphelion
  • Perigee
  • Apogee

diagram of earth's orbit

Motion in Space

An object in motion will stay in motion unless something pushes or pulls on it. This statement is called Newton's first law of motion.

Without gravity, an Earth-orbiting satellite would go off into outer space along a straight line. With gravity, it is pulled back toward Earth. A constant tug-of-war takes place between the satellite's tendency to move in a straight line, or momentum, and the tug of gravity pulling the satellite back.

Apply

A plane traveling from Tampa to Los Angeles will:

  1. Not fly into space due to Newton's first law of motion.
  2. Fly into space if it exceeds 500 miles per hour.
  3. Not fly into space due to gravity.
  4. Fly into space if it gets as high as a satellite.

Apply

A plane traveling from Tampa to Los Angeles will:

  1. Not fly into space due to Newton's first law of motion.
  2. Fly into space if it exceeds 500 miles per hour.
  3. Not fly into space due to gravity.
  4. Fly into space if it gets as high as a satellite.