Two identical spheres are connected by an elastic tether. The tether obeys Hooke's Law for ideal springs. At a particular moment in time, the tether is in a straight line, at its resting length, neither stretching nor contracting. This assembly is then placed into a circular orbit around the Earth, and oriented so that a line drawn from one sphere through the tether and the other sphere points directly at the Earth.
Give a qualitative description of the motion of the two spheres relative to each other over time.
(In reply to re: more thoughts
You two are quick. You posted your comments before I could post mine.
It is possible for the center of mass orbit to not be predictable. The
energy that defines the orbit (potential (gravity only) + kinetic) of
the center of mass changes over time. Therefore the orbit of the center
of mass will change as a function of the lenght of the spring...
Edited on April 13, 2005, 11:07 pm
Posted by ajosin
on 2005-04-13 23:06:57