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6.

1 Gravitational fields Work
List of definitions:

Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation:
It stated that every mass in the universe exerted an attractive force on all other masses. The
magnitude of this attractive force depends on the masses, M and m, of the individual objects.
The Law is defined by the equation:

, where G is the representing the universal
gravitational constant.
The variable r is measured in m and both the masses are measured in N. G is a constant which is
equal to 6.673 x 10
-11
N(m/kg)
2
.

The gravitational field around a point mass looks like this:

One example calculation using Newton’s Laws of Gravitation would be if I were to calculate the
force of attraction between the earth and the moon.
The value for M, the mass of the earth, is approximately 5.972 x 10
24
kg.
The value for m, the mass of the moon, is approximately 7.348 x 10
22
kg.
The distance between the earth and the moon is approximately 384, 400 km.
Therefore, the force of attraction is
(

)(

)

Newton’s 3
rd
Law of Motion applies to gravitational forces because it states that for every force there is
an equal and opposite force, and in gravitational forces Newton said that every object exerts attraction
on all other masses, meaning that it remains true because the force of attraction exerted on mass 1 by
mass 2 is exactly the same but opposite to the force of attraction exerted on mass 2 by mass 1.
Gravitational field strength is, at any point, the force acting per unit mass at that point. It is defined by
the equation:

. Its units are Nkg
-1
.
The gravitational field strength on the earth is approximately 10 N/kg and on the earth it is about 1.6
N/kg. They are different because of the difference in masses.
In order to find out the gravitational field strength in a radial field, which reduces as you move further
away from the point mass, the appropriate equation is:

.
The derived equation for the gravitational field strength on any planet is:

Factors resulting from Mars’ smaller gravitational field strength that would affect human kind’s life if
they ever moved to Mars would be a great many things. Driving on the moon would be different
because the car would not have so much traction to the road. After many, many years, if we ever get to
the point where an animal ecosystem develops on the planet, the wildlife would vary enormously,
especially the aerial creatures. The strength that would be needed to achieve flight would lessen
considerably, as well as the minimum weight required to do so. Much heavier and stronger animals
would become able to fly, changing the whole ecosystem.