Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Non-Simultaneous Drop of Objects
Name: Sky
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Country: South Africa
Date: Summer 2011

At school, my teacher and I are having a debate about a question that was asked recently. It goes as follows: Two identical objects are dropped 1 second apart in a vacuum does the distance between them: A: Remain the same B: Increase C: Decrease I believe that the distance will increase, but she is extremely confident that it will in fact remain the same. Would you please give me an explanation? Thanks so much. Sky

Hi Sky,

You are right Sky.

To convince your teacher you should prepare a spreadsheet table that is based on the equation s = 1/2 a * t^2.

In the equation s is the distance a object would travel with an acceleration a (earth's gravity effect of 32 ft / sec^2) and t is the time. Your table should show the time for each object falling, with one object starting one second behind. At each second interval compute and compare the distance s. The table will clearly show you are correct.

Carlton Schroeder

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory