A computer simulation of the circular motion of a rotating space station giving rise to “artificial gravity”. The program models what happens, as seen in the reference frame of an astronaut stationary with respect to the space station, when an apple is dropped (modelled as a point-like particle).
The user controlled options in the simulation are:
- Vertical height (h) from which the apple is dropped, measured at 90° from the “floor” of the space station (in metres).
- Radius (r) of the space station (in metres). The space station is assumed to be a perfect circle.
- Angular speed (omega) of the space station (in radians per second).
- Time increment (dt) used to iteratively calculate the particle's motion (from 0.000001 s to 0.000100 s).
The smaller the value, the more accurate the simulation, but the slower it will run. A higher value leads to a less accurate simulation that runs faster. It should not normally be necessary to change the default value of dt unless you are using a very slow or very fast computer.
When the “Start Simulation” button is pressed, a blue curve is drawn, which is the theoretical prediction of the path of the apple's motion. The apple will continue moving until it hits the rim of the space station.