DUE TO FRICTION WITH THE EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE, A LARGE STATIC ELECTRIC CHARGE COULD BUILD UP ON OUR PLUMMETING ASTEROID FRAGMENT. WOULD YOU EXPECT OUR FRAGMENT TO GENERATE A MAGNETIC FIELD? EXPLAIN WHY OR WHY NOT.
1. Due to friction with the Earth's atmosphere, a large static electric charge could build up on our plummeting asteroid fragment. Would you expect our fragment to generate a magnetic field? Explain why or why not. (18 points)
2. Some asteroid fragments are large enough to not completely burn up in the atmosphere and they end up on the surface of the Earth. It is possible for such a fragment to be radioactive. What is the chief cause of radioactivity? If you had a radiation detector that could measure the amount of radiation—but not the type of radiation—how could you determine which type of radiation was being emitted? (18 points)
3. How could the age of this asteroid fragment be determined? (18 points)
4. Asteroids can be classified into two broad groups based on their composition and location: carbon-rich asteroids dominate the outer part of the asteroid belt, whereas metal-rich asteroids dominate the inner part of the belt. Analysis of the fragment we have discussed in this project reveals that it contains nearly equal amounts of metals and carbon. Do you think you can conclude that the original asteroid had a similar composition? Do you think you can conclude that the asteroid originated in the middle regions of the asteroid belt? Explain your reasoning.
5. The Law of Conservation of Energy tells us that “energy cannot be created nor destroyed.” At the center of our Solar System is the Sun, and the Sun is constantly generating energy allowing our Earth to have habitable conditions for life to exist. Where is the Sun’s energy coming from? Does the Law of Conservation of Energy apply here? Explain your answer. (18 points)