Is Momentum Conserved?

Motion in Osmos is based on the concept of the conservation of momentum – expelling a small mote in one direction causes the player to move in the opposite direction… but is momentum actually conserved in the game?

This is a big question that can be explored in a variety of ways — let’s begin by just focusing on the propulsion of the player.
Is momentum conserved when the player expels a small mote?

To answer this question, you will probably need to answer a few others:

  • How does the mass of the player compare to the mass of the expelled mote?

  • How can we determine the velocity of the motes? (Should we use video analysis?)

  • Do we need to know the absolute velocity or will relative velocity suffice?

Upload your solution as a comment.
Bonus points to the simplest and most elegant solution method.

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About Andrew Vanden Heuvel

Learn more about Andrew Vanden Heuvel at http://www.agl-initiatives.org

Posted on October 14, 2011, in Physics Problems and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.

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