Two asteroids bump in space. The larger one has a mass of 3000 kg and the smaller one has a mass of 100 kg. f the force of the collision is 10,000 newtons on each asteroid, what are their accelerations?
The larger one accelerates at
The acceleration is obtained thru use of Newton's 2nd Law:
Rearranging this to yield acceleration gives us:
Each asteroid experiences a force of 10,000 N. Note, the Newton was defined to be equivalent to
The 3000 kg asteroid:
The 100 kg asteroid:
Since acceleration is a vector and since the 2 accelerations will be in opposite directions, one of them needs to be negative. Either could be negative depending on assignment of a reference system. The larger one would probably insist on saying his direction is positive, so the smaller asteroid's acceleration would be negative.
I hope this helps,