Weightlessness and the Normal Force

One of the most visually inspring aspects of space exploration is when we witness astronauts interacting with the gravitational force different than that close Earth's surface. Humans have only witnessed outer space in places that have a low gravitational force, for example, the moon and the International Space Station. 

Spacewalk on the ISS 1h:29m:25s for weightlessnes spacewalk scene
This clip is of astronaut Andrew Morgan doing a spacewalk to make a repair on the ISS. Notice how his legs are floating behind him and he is seen at times clutching to the ship with a single hand to control his entire body. This is because Andrew and the ISS are undergoing a constant free fall towards Earth but are stuck in orbit around the Earth. Free fall scenarios only occur when the only force that is acting on an object is gravity. The difference between an object experiencing free fall normally and an object experiencing free fall when in orbit is that the object in orbit is traveling around the …

Avengers: Infinity War Movie Analysis

Avengers: Infinity War is another classic superhero movie that involves action scenes made more epic by violating the laws of physics. That being said, it took some time to find scenes that involved spotty physics. Here are a few that caught my eye. 
Scene One - Cull Obsidian's Hammer Throw
In the battle scene between Black Order and the Avengers in New York City, Cull Obsidian's hammer seems to be resistent to Newtons first law when it is in contact with a concrete wall, but abides by it when interacting with the ground. Newtons first law states that a body will remain at rest or move in a straight line at a constant speed unless acted upon by a net outside force. 

Notice how the hammer travels straight through the building without slowing down whatsoever. Comparing this to newtons first law, it seems that the hammer is resistent to any outside forces. Now look at this scene where the hammer is slowed down dramatically by the ground.

The hammer is now subject to…

Tractor Method of Asteroid Defense

Inspired by the movie Armageddon, I researched the realistic techniques that Nasa has come up with to defend our planet against asteroids. The method that stood out to me as the most interesting was the Gravity Tractor method. The Gravity Tractor method is based on the most fundamental force in nature, Gravity. 

     If you have ever looked at the orbits of the planets around our Sun, or the orbit of the Moon around the Earth, you are looking at gravitation at its finest. Following Newtons 3rd law and basic gravitation equations, two celestial objects exert an identical force of gravity on one another over space that is equal to the product of their masses divided by the square of their distance, all multiplied by the gravitational constant G. The five inner planets all exert the force of gravity on the Sun and the Sun exerts the same force on each planet. The reason why each planet doesn't fall towards the sun is because they are moving at such high speeds that it causes them to …

Eraser Movie Analysis

The rail gun in the movie "Eraser" creates some of the most epic scenes in the movie. The amount of power that the gun has in the movie seems to be limitless as the projectiles launched out of the gun were able to pass through pretty much any medium in their path. Well, besides a human body for some reason. Although the gun is very amusing to watch in the movie, it seems that the filmmakers forgot to encorporate momentum laws and recoil to the operation of the gun itself.

Here's a quick video to show what recoil should look like:
To be fair, not all guns have a recoil like the sniper rifle in the video. The amount of recoil depends on the mass and velocity of the bullet being shot, or in the case of the rail gun, the armature. The amount of recoil one should experience due to a gun is based on a fundamental concept in physics called conservation of momentum. The total momentum of a system should always remain constant. The momentum of a sing…

Mission Impossible 3 Analysis

The Mission Impossible movie series is full of action scenes where main character Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise, gets himself out of many tricky situations using his weapon skills and combat mastery. He is also depicted as a math guy; seen writing physics equations in order to plan out his next move under intense pressure. Although the physics behind the movie is not the only area of critique, there are three scenes that stood out to me specifically that challenged the laws of physics.

Scene One: Tom Cruise Launches into Car

Video should start at 4:50 to see explosion scene
In this scene I am perplexed about Tom Cruise's direction of motion when experiencing the explosion from the missile impact. Is his direction of motion physically possible?  The force of an explosion is an area vector (perpendicular to the surface of the explosive). I have drawn the area vectors below to show the direction of the force that Tom Cruise should have experienced due to the explosion below.

The  explo…