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Q & A: gravitational attraction

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Most recent answer: 11/27/2011
Q:
So if gravity is an attractive force between two bodies, why (for example) aren't objects or people of roughly the same mass attracted to one another? Is it because they are being pulled toward the earth which is a larger mass?
- Karen (age 10)
Bronx, NY
A:
People are gravitationally attracted to each other. It's just that there are so many stronger forces around that you don't notice it. The attraction to the earth that you mention is one of the stronger forces. Various short range contact forces with the earth etc. are also much stronger.

In orbit in space, where these effects are small, you could notice the effects of gravitational attraction between people. Just a little out of arms' reach, I think two people would orbit each other once every few hours.

Mike W.

(published on 11/27/2011)

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