|Modelprojekt, Bachelor. modul, Vinter 2012, id:446|
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This project report explores the Slingshot Effect. The Slingshot Effect is an expression of the phenomenon that an object in space can be accelerated by the gravity of a given planet. The study is conducted by setting up a differential equation that describes the movement of a space probe within a solar system encompassing the sun, the Earth, and the space probe itself. The purpose of setting up a differential equation describing this movement is to find explanations that may clarify the ways in which the space probe moves when positioned far away from Earth. The explanations found are functions that describe speed and position over time. Since it is not possible to analytically determine the reciprocal movement of three objects in the future, the mass of the space probe must be considered in relation to the mass of the sun and the mass of the Earth. Upon considering this relation, it becomes evident that the mass of the space probe is very small when compared to the mass of the sun and the mass of Earth, and thus, it can be presumed that the space probe will not affect the sun or the Earth with any given force. As a result, the system encompassing the sun, the Earth and the space probe will not conserve its energy. To provide a critical view on this study of the Slingshot Effect, a system consisting of the space probe and the Earth is defined. From within this system, the Slingshot Effect can be examined, provided that one is at a distance between the sun and the Earth at which the Earth's field of gravity is affecting the trajectory of the space probe. By solving the differential equation explaining the movement of the space probe, and by comparing the results to the theoretical study of the Slingshot Effect, it is examined how exact a study of the Slingshot Effect one can perform. The project report concludes that it is possible to satisfactorily study the Slingshot Effect by setting up a differential equation explaining the movement in a system without energy conservation. The results of the study show that the effect on the Slingshot Effect is less significant than the theoretical effect, and that the desired effect can only be achieved at an unrealistic distance from the centre of the Earth.