# Mechanics: Circular Motion and Gravitation

## Circular Motion and Gravitation: Audio Guided Solution

#### Problem 25:

Scientists determine the masses of planets by observing the effect of the gravitational field of those planets on nearby objects - mainly upon their moons. By measuring the orbital period and orbital radius of a moon about a planet, Newton's laws of motion can be used to determine the mass of the planet. Phobos, a moon of the planet Mars, was discovered in 1877. It's orbital radius is 9380 km and its orbital period is 0.319 days (2.77 x 104 seconds). Determine the mass of Mars based on this data.

## Habits of an Effective Problem Solver

• Read the problem carefully and develop a mental picture of the physical situation. If necessary, sketch a simple diagram of the physical situation to help you visualize it.
• Identify the known and unknown quantities in an organized manner. Equate given values to the symbols used to represent the corresponding quantity - e.g., m = 61.7 kg, v= 18.5 m/s, R = 30.9 m, Fnorm = ???.
• Use physics formulas and conceptual reasoning to plot a strategy for solving for the unknown quantity.
• Identify the appropriate formula(s) to use.
• Perform substitutions and algebraic manipulations in order to solve for the unknown quantity.