UniServe Science

Physics Table of Contents

9.2 Space

The Earth's Gravitational Field

Solar System and Gravity

Rocketry and Orbital Motion

Special Relativity and the Understanding of Space and Time


The History of Physics in the New HSC Physics Syllabus (Pdf - 59.38 KB), by Lawrence Cram. Paper given to the 9th Biennial Science Teachers' Workshop, "The New Physics HSC Syllabus", mounted by the School of Physics, University of Sydney, June 15-16, 2000.

SPACE - course notes from Bob Emery, St Pius College, Adamstown , NSW

Space - from NSW HSC Online

Space - from HSC Physics, UNSW

Physics, Spaceflight and the Earth's Magnetism - from David G. Stern, Emeritus, Goddard Space Center

The Earth's Gravitational Field

Newton's Laws - a tutorial, from The Physics Classroom

Multimedia Tutorials on Newton's laws - from The Physics Classroom

Classroom materials - from Goddard Space Science Center, includes Newton's Laws of Motion and Gravity, stimulus material, teaching ideas and notes

Gravitational Potential Energy - lessons from The Physics Classroom

Recognising Forces - an online activity, from The Physics Classroom

GRACE -- Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment - from NASA

Physics - How Things Work - interesting discussions of Work and energy, from University of Virginia

Gravitational Force: An Internet Based Lesson Plan - from Georgia State University

Standard Planetary Information, Formulae and Constants - Information about the acceleration due to gravity on other planets, from Planetary Atmospheres Node, NASA

The Major Planets: Properties of the 8 major planets (and Pluto) - from Krysstal

Student Investigations and Experiments

Grasping Gravity - an investigation, from Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA

Launch a frisbee into orbit - from The Technology Teacher, April 2003 (pdf 447.1 KB),

How does gravity assist work with interplanetary satellites? - from How Stuff Works

Rocketry and Orbital Motion

Projectile motion

Space/Math - Constants and Equations for Calculations - a Space FAQ page from Usenet

Orbital Mechanics - from Rocket and Space Technology

Selections from Dialogue Concerning Two New Sciences - translation of Galileo's Ideas - from University of Virginia

The Galileo Project: Science - from Rice University

Projectile Motion Applet - allows you to vary data and see results in graphical form, from University of Virginia

Quicktime Movies - from Physics Net, Western Washington University

Mechanics Interactive Physics Simulations - from Physics Net, Western Washington University

Mechanics Example Problems - from Physics Net, Western Washington University

Using Spreadsheets for Projectile Motion - detailed Instructions for working with a spreadsheet, University of Virginia

Planet Impact - is a series of learning modules inspired by the crash of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter, students investigate how the gravitational force of a large body, such as Jupiter, affects the path of a smaller body, such as a comet, from Space Telescope Science Institute

Escape velocity

Newton's Mountain - applet from University of Virginia

Inertial forces during launch

Launch a "Rocket" from a Spinning "Planet" - from ScienceLinks, NASA

Rocket launch experiment- from Science Netlinks, NASA

Later Deceleration Studies on the High-Speed Track - from History of Research in Space Biology and Biodynamics, NASA

The dynamics of rocketry

Rocketry - lessons from NASA

Momentum - from Science Clarified, see paragraph 'Applications'

Welcome to the Beginner's Guide to Rockets - from NASA

40th anniversary of Apollo 11 : 1969 - 2009 - from Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA

Encyclopedia Astronautica

Rocket Principles - teachers' resources, from NASA

Circular orbital motion around the Earth

Planetary Orbits - includes an interactive animation

More general motion of satellites

Orbital Motion and Kepler's laws - from School for Champions

Johannes Kepler: The Laws of Planetary Motion - from University of Tennessee

Kepler Motion - virtual lab (applet) from Univeristy of Hawaii

Problems with reentry

Spacecraft Reentry - from Aerospace Corporation

Satellite Re-entry - from Visual Satellite Observer's Home Page

Visual Satellite Observer's Home Page - site for amateur observers of satellites

A Moon for a Man - easy-to-read article is from a history of one of the NASA projects

A Report on an Artificial Earth Satellite - an historically interesting report which discusses re-entry angle written by the Russian Scientific Research Institute in 1954 at the very start of their space program

Student investigations and experiments

Java Applets on Physics - see Mechanics section, from Walter Fendt's

Jesper's g-meter - home made g-meter used to measure car accleration

G-Meter - description from NASA

DE-ACCM5G Application Note: G Meter - instructions for construction of a g-meter designed to be mounted on a car, from Dimension engineering

Uniform Circular Motion

How Satellites Work - from How Stuff Works

Orbital Decay of Satellites

What is Low Earth Orbit? - from tech-FAQ

What is a Low Earth orbit - a definition from Answers.com

Satellite Orbital Decay Calculations - 10 page pdf (368.81 KB) from Department of Industry Tourism and Resources, Australia

Why do satelites eventually come down? - from MadSci Network

Historical Figures in rocket science - Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, Goddard, Esnault-Pelterie, O'Neill or von Braun

History of Rocketry - from Spaceline, has separate chapters on Tsiolkovsky, Goddard, Oberth and von Braun

The life of Konstantin Eduardovitch Tsiolkovsky - from Informatics

Early History: Nuclear Thermal Propulsion - from Federation of American Scientists, with information about Esnault-Pelterie

Life of Gerard K. O'Neill - from Space Studies Institute

Science fiction ideas

The rigours associated with rocket launching, as well as historical aspects of the space race, are accurately conveyed in the movies:
The Right Stuff (1983)
Apollo 13 (1996).

Practical details associated with space stations appear in many sf movies - for example:
2001, A Space Odyssey (1968)
Outland (1981)

The idea that there are more efficient ways of raising people and payloads into space other than rockets, namely a giant "elevator" constructed between the surface of the planet and a geo-stationary satellite is explored in:
The Fountains of Paradise (1979) by Arthur C. Clarke, Review
Green Mars (1993) by Kim Stanley Robinson.


How to Become an Astronaut - from NASA

How to Become an Astronaut - from Space Frequently Asked Question site

Basics of Space Flight - Online textbook from NASA - in particular Chapter 14

VIDEO: Liftoff to Learning: Space Basics - from NASA (requires Real Player)

Shuttle Online Press Kit

Human Spaceflight - from NASA

Rocket and Space Technology - topics include Basics of Space Flight, Space Hardware, Space Centers, Space Missions and Space and Rocketry terms

Mission Events Summary - from NASA

Space Science Hotlist - from The Franklin Institute Online

The Future

How Space Elevators Will Work

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The Solar System and Gravity

The 8 Planets - Multimedia Tour of the Solar System by Bill Arnett

Universcale - The Size of Things, created by Nikon

"Powers of Ten" - a video created by IBM in 1977. Explores the scale of the universe from an electron to the limits of space.

A Scale Model of the Solar System - an Applet, from Bob Jenkins

Another Solar Sytem Applet - from UCLA

Astronomy Notes - a helpful, comprehensive site with notes about general astronomy by Nick Strobel

Sir Isaac Newton: The Universal Law of Gravitation

Sir Isaac Newton: The Universal Law of Gravitation - from University of Tennessee

Newton's law of gravitation - from University of Winnipeg

Newton's Law of Gravity - from About.com

Gravitation & Circular Motion - from skool.ie web site in Ireland Summary Notes

Educator's Guide to The Inverse Square Law - from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

10 Gravity - from Newtonian Physics by Benjamin Crowell online physics textbook


Gravitational Slingshot

Gravitational Slingshot - from MathPages

Animation of Slingshot effect - a good explanation, from European Space Agency

The Slingshot effect - from University of Durham. (pdf, size 222.33 KB.)

Slingshot Effect - Flashlet from University of Virginia

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Special Relativity and the Understanding of Space and Time

EinsteinLight - 2005 web site from UNSW for The International Year of Physics, includes modules on relativity and constant c, scroll down for a series of excellent internet links

Spacetime 101 - from Caltech, background covering how mathematical models of space and time have evolved since ancient times, from the Pythagorean Rule to Newtonian mechanics, Special Relativity and General Relativity

Galileo's Principle of Relativity

Galileo's Spacetime: Introducing the Principle of Relativity - from Syracuse University

Galileo's funnel cart demonstration - Quicktime Movie, from University of Maryland PURPOSE: To demonstrate the independence of velocity components in a dramatic way. Just click on the Image

Alternative movie here

The Speed of Light - brief notes from University of British Columbia

Michelson-Morley Experiment

Michelson-Morley Experiment - from Science World Web Site, this entry contributed by Leonardo Motta

The Michelson-Morley Experiment - from Michael Fowler at the University of Virginia

The Michelson-Morley Experiment - notes in pdf from Modern Physics textbook (W.H. Freeman). Size 49.76 KB.

Michelson-Morley Experiment - diagram of the experiment and Data for the M-M experiment, from Hyperphysics, Georgia State University

Michelson Interferometer - from Hyperphysics, Georgia State University

Flashlet Simulation of the Experiment - from University of Virginia

Inertial frames of reference

Modern Physics Problems - Applets from from Modern Physics Explorer

Space and Time: Inertial Frames - from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Inertial Reference Frames - from Upscale at University of Toronto

Inertial frames - from EinsteinLight at University of New South Wales, good animation

Simulation: Clocks and the Postulates of Special Relativity - with a java app, from University of California Los Angeles

Special Relativity

Teaching Special Relativity Using Physlets - web-based material described in a paper in The Physics Teacher, from Davidson College

History of mathematical physics - from St Andrews University

Foundations - a non-mathematical introduction as a series of online articles from by Greg Egan

Relativity - from US National Science Foundation

Special Relativity - from Stanford University

MAGIC through two MILLENNIA - from the University of Toronto

Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity - from The Physics Classroom website

Consequences of Special Relativity

Relativity of simultaneity

Simultaneity Video - from National Science Foundation, select 1905: Relativity Link, then click on Simultaneity in Multimedia frame

The Relativity of Simultaneity - Einstein's origional paper

Discovering the Relativity of Simultaneity: How did Einstein take "The Step"? - from the University of Pittsburgh

or with animated figures

The equivalence between mass and energy

The Equivalence of Mass and Energy - from Plato Website at Stanford University

About Mass Energy Equivalence - from Upscale at University of Toronto

This month in Physics History: April - from APS News

Einstein's Big Idea - from NOVA

Length contraction

Relativistic Length Contraction

Length Contraction - from Michigan State University, includes worked examples

Time dilation

Time Dilation Video- from National Science Foundation. Select 1905: Relativity Link then click on Time Dilation in Multimedia frame


Mass dilation

Does mass change with velocity? - from Usenet physics FAQ

Relativistic Mass - from Hyperphysics, Georgia State University, Enter a decimal less than 1 in the box to get an instant calculation

Mass dilation FAQ - from The University of New South Wales

Implications for Space Travel

A Trip through the Universe at the Speed of Light - Gene Smith's Astronomy Tutorial, from University of california at San Diego

Was Einstein Wrong about Space Travel? - from NASA

Time traveller - from NOVA: Einstein's Big Idea. nb: requires Shockwave player.

Through the City at the Speed of light - Computer Simulation of the Relativistic Bike Ride

C-ship: Relativistic ray traced images

Seeing Relativity - from Australian National University

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