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?

2 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best 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.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Such a system would still lose energy by radiating gravitational waves. So no, not forever.

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