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Q & A: Falling at the same speed

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
What is the error of the statement by Aristotle, "The rate of fall of an object depends upon its mass." My science book asks this and I can’t figure it out.
- Zachary (age 10)
Oneida, NY
A:
Hi Zachary!

According to Aristotle, heavy things will fall faster than light things. He thought that if you drop a rock, it will fall faster than an orange. Many years later, another scientist found out that Aristotle was wrong. The rock and the orange fell at the same speed!

You can even try this yourself. Go outside and drop a small rock and a bigger rock at the same time. They both hit the ground at the same time.

You might say, "But a feather falls really slowly." That happens because there is air between the ground and the feather. While it is falling, the poor feather has to push it's way through the air. That slows it down a lot like when you try to walk in the snow.



AA

(published on 10/22/2007)

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