In a perfect vacuum, could an object theoretically orbit forever?
Currently, things in orbit, like artificial satellites and the moon, move around a body with little resistance, but eventually their orbits change a little. The moon's orbit is drifting away at about 3.74 centimeters a year, and the ISS stores 4 tons of fuel to periodically boost the station to combat atmospheric drag.
That doesn't make any sense in a perfect vacuum. Since gravity only pulls in the direction of a gravity well, there seems there shouldn't be any reason for it to influence an object in any direction besides the direction of the gravity well. But space isn't a perfect vacuum, and it has some particles in it.
So, in a theoretical perfect vacuum, where there aren't any stray particles or other things acting on a satellite-body orbit, would it mean that the current orbit could go on forever?
- 1 decade agoBest Answer
yes it is possible.
side note the change in objects orbit is space could also be cause by the minute affects of the moon's or sun's gravity.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Such a system would still lose energy by radiating gravitational waves. So no, not forever.