P4_3 Walking on Wolf-Biederman

Jason Smith, Tendayi Kerr, Nathan Adams, Nick Brewster


In the 1998 blockbuster ‘Deep Impact’ a crew of astronauts land on the surface a comet named Wolf-Biederman. The film leads the audience to believe that the force of gravity at the surface of the comet is strong enough to keep the astronauts gravitationally bound to the surface. This paper investigates the validity of this depiction, based on information given in the film. It is found that the local gravitational constant at the surface of the comet, 1.4 x 10-3 ms-2, would be too small to allow motion along the surface by walking and jumping as the film depicts, and that the astronauts would be at risk of drifting into space given the comets escape velocity of 3.9 ms-1.

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