Rockets through Space

Newton's Laws of Motion

There is a meme alive in the science education system and it must go. The meme is that rocket motion is best explained using Newton’s 3rd law.

I will offer this infographic to NASA as their offering for Newton’s laws is just a little too dry, and to the first, second and third Google returns ahh I offer meme crushing data as a cure.

Newton's Laws of Motion
Newton’s Laws and a scenario for each

Quite frankly the fact that an intelligent student who has worked this out herself and can be marked in an exam as if she is wrong is all the justification I need to support the homeschooling movement. Our teachers’ inability to wield 350-year-old logic tools is simply frightening.

If you would like a simplified “rockets motion in space” version here is one which excludes Newton’s 1st law:

explanation of rocket motion
Rocket movement

4 thoughts on “Rockets through Space

  1. H B Post authorReply

    This piece has been created to counter the common misconception put about that Newton’s 3rd law, an action/reaction story explains rocket motion. If you want to accelerate an object you actually have to make cunning use of Newton’s 2nd. It is this common mistreatment of the topic ALONE that provides me with enough evidence that home schooling should be legal in any country. If you can’t trust your physics teacher with this topic, what else are your teachers getting wrong?!

    Here are some folks who had misinformed physics teachers and never really absorbed the full meaning of Newton’s laws. Heck I was in my 30s before I synthesized them fully.

    http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/about-us/154-people-in-astronomy/space-exploration-and-astronauts/rockets/838-how-do-rockets-move-in-space-beginner

    https://www.livescience.com/34475-how-do-space-rockets-work-without-air.html

    An almost… but not quite http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1846/how-do-rockets-work-in-the-vacuum-of-space

    So very close- good explanation, wrong law.
    http://www.physlink.com/education/askexperts/ae221.cfm

    Education is a tool in your own hands. Own it and wield it with care!

  2. tony Reply

    I am so happy I graduated from the public Insane in the membrane asylum in 1984 A time when they still taught the subject not the test.

    Don’t even get me started, they dumbed them down and then filled heads with crap to purposefully think everything is a conspiracy and that no one had ever left the earth because . One can observe the “rocket” curving along the sky to sometime a few hundred miles out to sea crash and then use Hollywood fakery to show yourself shortly thereafter filming faked life in space and on the moon.

    God help us!

  3. H B Post authorReply

    Oh my word- NASA are apparently incapable of explaining Hero’s engine, Damn good job you don’t have to apply Newton’s law to actually make use of them NASA. I have found the individual’s wrapped in guilt on Linked in and asked to converse with them, however they have not shown any inclination to communicate.

    https://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/education/rocket/TRCRocket/hero.html
    Shame on you Tom Clausen of KSC Explorations Station and Roger Storm, NASA Glenn Research Center.

    I quote: “The Soda Pop Can Hero Engine is an excellent demonstration of Newton’s Laws of Motion. The can rotates because a force is exerted by the flowing water (1 st. Law)”.

    mmm really (?) cause Fnet= ma is Newton’s 2nd law. The can rotates because it experiences a net force, which is Newton’s second. You could bring in Newton’s first to explain why the can remains stationary until something happens to it, or why the can would continue to rotate forever in the absence of frictional forces, but seriously, if we can’t rely on NASA to educate us, and we can’t rely on our text books or our teachers then who?

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