Question

If you are given the mass and radius of planet X,explain how you would calculate the free fall acceleration on the surface of this planet?

Answer #1

The gravitational force of attraction between the planet and an object of mass m on the surface of the planet is

where G is the gravitational constant, M is the mass of the planet and R is the radius of the planet.

According to Newton's second law, this force can be written as

where g is the free fall acceleration on the planet. Equating the two forces on obtains

The mass m of the object cancels out on both sides. This gives the free fall acceleration on the surface of this planet

Using this equation you can calculate the free fall acceleration on the surface of this planet if you know M and R.

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