Meteorite Impulse Simulation
Determine the Physics of Meteorite Impacts
Materials: meter stick, meteorite, sand box, vernier caliper, ruler

Methods and Analysis
1.  Sketch the initial setup, and show the measurements to be taken and calculations to perform.
2.  Determine a release height for the golf ball (usually >2 m) above the sand box.
3.  Calculate (before the drop) the weight of the golf ball, the time to fall, its velocity, impulse, and momentum immediately prior to impact with the sand.  Show all equations, work, units.
4.  After impact, measure the depth of the crater.
5.  Based on the depth of the crater, calculate the acceleration of the ball while slowing down in the sand, average force applied by the sand, time to stop, and the impulse the sand applied to the ball.
6.  Compare in a table the following of your measurements and calculations before and after impact:
        a)  force applied to golf ball
        b) time of impulse
        c) acceleration
        d)  impulse
        e)  change in momentum
7.  Assuming a refrigerator-sized meteorite (100 kg) strikes a sand desert on the earth at a terminal velocity of 300 m/s, predict the crater’s depth based on data gathered in this lab.

Back to the Brockport High School Science Department