Colliding Asteroids and Angular Momentum

Dave Nero


This simulation shows the behavior of two colliding asteroids, accounting for both linear and angular momentum. The mass of each asteroid can be adjusted using the sliders. The initial velocity for each asteroid can be changed by dragging the small blue points at the head of each vector. Click the play button in the bottom left corner to watch the collision. Click the Reset button to start over.
  1. Can you make the asteroids collide so that afterword they move but don't rotate?
  2. Can you make the asteroids be completely stationary after the collision (no rotation or translation)?
  3. What do you need to do to maximize the rotation rate after the collision?
  4. Can any type of collision cause the center of mass velocity to change?