Satellites, Centripetal Force and Tangential Motion

A GCSE-level quiz relating to the Satellites section in the OCR Gateway Physics P5 module. It asks about the different types of orbit an artificial satellite can have around Earth, the orbital path of each type of satellite and how each satellite's distance from Earth affects its orbit.

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1. As a comet nears the Sun, the speed at which it travels in its orbit increases. This is because:

  • the size of the comet increases as it gets closer to the Sun
  • as the comet nears the Sun, the gravitational force of attraction between the comet and the Sun is greater
  • when the comet is further away from the Sun, the gravitational force of attraction between the comet and the Sun is greater
  • as the comet nears the Sun, the gravitational force of attraction between the comet and the Sun is greater
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2. The forward motion preventing Earth's gravitational pull from making a satellite fall to its surface is called:

  • friction
  • tangential motion
  • momentum
  • centripetal force

3. The particular height of the orbit of a geostationary satellite ensures that:

  • the satellite is able to pass over the entire surface of the Earth, as the Earth continues to turn whilst the satellite orbits
  • the satellite can orbit the Earth much faster than the rate that it is turning
  • the satellite's orbital period is 24 hours long, so it appears stationary when observing from the Earth's surface
  • the satellite remains stationary

4. A comet's orbit is:

  • elliptical
  • square
  • circular
  • hexagonal

5. Gravity provides something, without which objects such as planets would not orbit their stars and instead move away at a tangent. What is it that gravity provides that prevents this from happening?

  • Momentum
  • Friction
  • Centripetal force
  • Tangential motion

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