The Gravitational Field: The aliens are coming Virtual Lab

Help the alien Pondus study gravitational acceleration on Earth and find out how Earth’s mass and the distance from where we measure it affects the strength of Earth’s gravitational field.

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About This Simulation

Have you ever had the chance to talk to an alien from a far-away galaxy? In this simulation, you will meet Pondus and help him study Earth's gravity. The mass of his planet is so big that he needs a huge thrust to escape its gravitational pull. Learn about the gravitational field and gravitational acceleration at Earth's surface and anywhere in space, and help Pondus understand if Earth is more suitable than his planet for space travel. 

Freefall

Do all objects experience the same acceleration when they fall? Is there a difference between mass and weight? According to the legend, Galileo dropped different weights off of the Tower of Pisa to study gravitational acceleration on Earth. From our lab, you can do the same and much more: you can change Earth’s gravity and see how this affects the freefall and weight of objects.

The gravitational field 

Even though you can’t see gravity, but just experience its effects, scientists have found a way to represent it: the gravitational field lines. Just with the click of a button, you will be able to visualize the gravitational field lines and understand how their density changes with the intensity of the gravitational field.

Calculate the gravitational field strength

The gravitational field lines look different from space: when we move away from Earth's surface, field lines no longer look parallel. They point radially to Earth's center. You will learn how to interpret them and relate the field strength to the distance from the field source. They will learn how to calculate gravitational acceleration at any point in space. Will you help Pondus learn more about gravity on Earth?

Explore The Gravitational Field: The aliens are coming Virtual Lab Simulation

Pondus is an alien that comes from a very distant galaxy. The mass of his planet is so big that he needs a huge thrust to escape its gravitational pull. He decided to come to Earth to study its gravity and see if it's more suitable for space travel. In this image, we see his spaceship approaching Earth.
Mass and weight are often mistaken for each other, but they are two different things. This image shows an activity that will help resolve this misconception. The user will weigh an apple and see how the weight changes with the strength of the gravitational field, while the mass will not be affected.
The image shows a 3D model of the square of Miracles in Pisa. According to the legend, Galileo dropped different weights off of the Tower of Pisa to study the gravitational acceleration on Earth. The students will have the same opportunity and look at how different masses behave when they are in free fall. The monitor on the left shows the gravitational field lines in the square of Miracles.
This image shows the gravitational field lines of Earth from space. On the hovering screen, there are three cards representing, a satellite, a comet, and the moon. Students will have to position them at the right distance from the Earth, taking into account the gravitational acceleration that each object will experience in the Earth's gravitational field.

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