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Suppose the value of the universal gravitational constant reduces gradually in the future, which of the following is likely to occur?
1. Earth will move closer to the Sun
2. Earth will leave the solar system
3. Earth will become extremely hot and humid
4. None of the above

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Correct Answer - Option 2 : Earth will leave the solar system

The correct answer is option 2) i.e. Earth will leave the solar system

CONCEPT:

  • Law of Universal Gravitation: It states that all objects attract each other with a force that is proportional to the masses of two objects and inversely proportional to the square of the distance that separates their centres.

It is given mathematically as follows:

\(F = \frac{Gm_1m_2}{R^2}\)

Where m1 and m2 are the mass of two objects, G is the gravitational constant and R is the distance between their centres.

  • The gravitational constant G establishes a relationship between gravitational force, mass, and distance.
    • The value of G is 6.67 × 10-11 N kg-2 m2.


EXPLANATION:

  • Gravitational force is a centripetal force that helps the Earth to move around the Sun.
  • If the value of G decreases, the gravitational force between the Earth and Sun decreases.
  • Over a long period of time, the gravitational force will become so weak that it will not support the movement of Earth around the Sun in a closed orbit.
  • As a result, the Earth is likely to move away in a tangential path to orbit.
  • Thus, there is a probability that Earth will leave the solar system.

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