Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 36 - Think and Explain: 23


Both s/he and the ship are "falling" in the gravitational field of the Earth.

Work Step by Step

An astronaut in orbit is accelerating, because the ship orbits in a circle. The force of Earth's gravity is the net force, and is just enough to keep the astronaut moving in a circle. The astronaut feels weightless because there is no normal force exerted by a weighing scale (as discussed in Chapter 9).
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