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In the following scenario, assuming no one, and nothing touched the wheel if you looked...

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quddoos | Valedictorian

Posted August 31, 2013 at 12:11 PM via web

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In the following scenario, assuming no one, and nothing touched the wheel if you looked through a telescope at the bicycle wheel ten years from now would it still be spinning?

Imagine an astronaut takes a bicycle wheel with her into deep space.  Holding both ends of the axle she starts the wheel spinning then she lets it go and flies back to Earth.

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tjbrewer | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 31, 2013 at 5:06 PM (Answer #1)

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Yes, the wheel would still be spinning.  According to Newton's First Law of Motion, "An object in motion will tend to remain in motion unless an outside force acts on it."  In deep space, there is no air for the wheel to have friction against, no gravitational field, no magnetism, no outside force that could act on the wheel.  There is not even friction between wheel parts because bicycle wheels are fixed to the axle, the axle itself would have friction with the frame, but since only the wheel was taken, there would be nothing for the wheel or axle to have friction with since the wheel started turning.  Since no outside force would have acted on it, Newton's First Law of Motion indicates that the wheel would still be spinning.

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