Natural Sciences >> Physics

Determining Mass of Fuel for a Mission to Europa

by Joshua Harvey


Submitted : Fall 2016

A major aspect in planning a mission to another planet/moon is calculating the mass of fuel needed to pass through the Earth’s gravity and safely land on the surface of the new celestial body. To figure out the amount of fuel needed, you must find all the variables involved with the change in mass and the change in velocity to determine two separate instances of momentum, one prior to launch and the other shortly after the launch of the spacecraft. Using the Law of Conservation of Momentum, you can solve for the velocity of the exhausted fuel required to escape the Earth’s gravity. Once that is completed, an integral can be set up to determine the mass of fuel is required to successfully complete the mission.



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Advisors :
Arcadii Grinshpan, Mathematics and Statistics
Alex McCormick, Physics
Suggested By :
Alex McCormick