Force and Acceleration
(a Newton's Law physics educational game)
Acceleration: This simulation allows you to move about a flat ( 2 dimensional, gravity free) space in a ion propelled imaginary space ship. Type in the ship orientation ( force direction) and thrust duration (time, s = .5*a *t^2), and then click ENTER ... button. This enters desired course and duration into space ship ion propulsion engine control computer. The computer uses the accelerometer sensor inputs to regulate thrust so as to maintain desired acceleration. Engine burn does not begin and Time does not change until an Engine Control Button is clicked. The STOP ENGINE button advances time by an amount specified (Thrust Duration as entered) at zero acceleration.
Start by moving along a single axis at slow speed and note how far you travel in an hour. Though .1 meters per second per second is less than 1/100 of a earth "g" it is still far greater than what ion propulsion engine spacecraft can achieve today, but even 1 meter per second squared may be obtained in the future. Trip starts at X, Y coordinate 0,0. Ignore the target message until you have traveled through of four quadrants of the cartesian coodinate system. Travel through all four quadrants clockwise and counter clockwise. Next, Click "Reset" and start playing the intercept target game. Try to get close to target without overshooting it.
Space Ship Engineering Control Panel
Note: Ship Orientation and Course are independent of each other.
Exercise: Travel to X = 1000km + or - 1.0km and Y = 1000km +
or - 1.0 km and stop there ( slowing to a velocity less than 10 meters per second
constitutes a stop.)
1. Newton’s laws to control motion in space.
2. Cartesian coordinate system.
4. Derivatives – Distance, Velocity, and Acceleration.
5. Target Tracking Game forces student to work in two coordinate systems (Space and Radar).
6. Creation of a correction table for faulty radar software. A spacecraft could leave base with problem not discovered during ground testing. If you try to intercept TARGET you will find that relative position of target in polar coordinates (distance and angle) and Cartesian coordinates ( X and Y range) correspond exactly as long X range is positive. However, when X range goes negative, Polar coordinates azimuth reading appears incorrect, though range appears correct. Given that X range and Y range are correct make a correction chart for azimuth readout when spaceship passes TARGET along X axis.
1. Speed and range indications are non-formatted computer generated numbers. Only three or four digits are significant. Azimuth indication is formatted as an Integer.
2. Target moves only in first quadrant with constant velocity.
3. Note display is titled Space Ship Engineering Control Panel not Pilot Control Panel . Thus display of non-formatted raw computer data with many significant digits is justified. Raw data could even be useful in the analysis of computer problems. This note only speaks to the metaphor and is of little value when performing an exercise.
FOR A TRUE EDUCATIONAL SIMULATION OF NEWTON'S LAWS WITH VARIABLE GRAVITY GO TO DEEP SPACE NORTH!