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Q & A: Moon in free-fall

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Is the Moon in a Freefall?
- Dan (age 16)
Milton WI USA
A:
Yes.

We say that an object is in free-fall when gravity is the only force acting on it. Actually, the gravitational force of the sun and that of the earth both contribute importantly to the moon's path through space. Gravity can be used to "slingshot" spacecraft around planets, and we can still say the spacecraft is always in free-fall (unless it is firing its rocket engines).

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

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