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Q & A: why don't balloons keep moving sideways?

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Most recent answer: 02/13/2016
Q:
When you throw a balloon you'd expect for it to continue it's horizontal motion as it falls towards the ground. But it doesn't, it just falls straight down. Why?
- Jordan (age 14)
Mableton, Georgia, USA
A:

Air friction gets rid of the sideways momentum. Because of that friction, the balloon quickly comes to rest (with respect to the air) except for motion due to to persistent forces, like gravity.

Mike W.


(published on 02/13/2016)

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