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Thread: Explosions in Space

  1. #1 Explosions in Space 
    Forum Freshman Kage Kazumi's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Inelastic collision in Space

    Inelastic collision is when the
    colliding objects deform, or generate
    heat, or both. In a perfectly inelastic
    collision, the objects stick together.

    So in short I need to show an example of Inelastic collision. Now I know how to explain it and even have chosen an image. However, my problem is the image I have chosen is of two space ships (Star Trek Nemisis) crashing in the vacuum of space. Now if you have seen the movie you will know that Hollywood adds sparks and flame to the crash. However, there is no oxygen in space, but a few of my friends have said that some chemicals do not need oxygen to explode or have flame. I tried searching for Explosions in Space, but only find stars or Yahoo Questions asking about the same question I have. If you can supply your educated guess or reliable source (not Wikipedia).

    I do remember hearing about two satellite crashing while in orbit and I would assume their was no explosion or fire, but can not find a detailed report of the crash.

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  3. #2  
    Anti-Crank AlexG's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    While there is no oxygen in space, there is oxygen in the two colliding ships.

    The only real explosion I can think of in space is Apollo 13, and nobody actually saw it. That one did involve the liquid oxygen tanks, so I would guess that there could have been flame.

    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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  4. #3  
    Forum Masters Degree
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    An example of collision in space with witnesses is Mir (space station) colliding with Soyuz capsule.At that time the Cosmonaut in Mir tried to dock Soyuz to Mir using remote control with visual only (no radar). Mir experience decompression & power loss.

    Another one (I think) is when US astronaut in Apollo capsule try to dock with Spacelab (space station) but the docking failed. So they ram onto the docking port and keep thruster on until the docking lock. No reported damage.
    Last edited by msafwan; November 25th, 2012 at 09:55 PM.
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  5. #4  
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    On the planet Earth
    Explosions in space would have an initial brilliant flash, and the resulting spherical fireball and debris would travel away from the point of explosion far too fast for the eye to see. Nuclear explosions would be similar, but with a much brighter flash, and little or no visible debris since it would be vaporized. Explosions in vacuum on the surface of a planet, moon, asteroid etc. will look similar to those in zero-g, but any debris that does not achieve escape velocity in the local gravity field will arc back down and rain to the surface. In low gravity, this could take minutes or even hours. If a spacecraft blows up, the explosion should have the same velocity as the craft did (possibly altered by the velocity of whatever hit it). I.e., the boom should keep moving. Many movies and shows have a fast-moving craft turn into a stationary explosion (relative to the camera). Above all, explosions in vacuum would be silent
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  6. #5  
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    Sep 2012
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    no pics but if you do a search a bit deeper using wiki as a starting point you may find a realistic animation

    2009 satellite collision - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Sometimes it is better not knowing than having an answer that may be wrong.
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