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Tug of war



It's always a ton of fun. Even when you do find out that it's not a game about strength, but a game of friction because of newton's third law, which says every action has an equal and opposite reaction. so whatever force is applied at one end of the rope by one person must be applied at the other end in the opposite direction by another person. Then it's all a matter of who can apply a force to surpass that of friction. But I had a strange but interesting thought; what if this happened in the vacuum of space? What if one day two astronauts were randomly floating in space with a rope for whatever reason and one said "hey I've got an idea..." Well if both pulled the rope at opposite ends, depending on their mass, they would both drift towards each other, because their initial total momentum of zero must be conserved, and then collide, and possibly drift back to where they started if the collision was elastic. If this was the case, they'd probably want to pull back on the rope so they don't drift away in space indefinitely. But unless they applied a precise amount of force to stop them from moving away from each other, they would just move towards each other and the process would repeat. Maybe tug of war in space isn't such a good idea


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