Problem: Lunar astronauts placed a reflector on the Moon’s surface, off which a laser beam is periodically reflected. The distance to the Moon is calculated from the round-trip time. (a) To what accuracy in meters can the distance to the Moon be determined, if this time can be measured to 0.100 ns? (b) What percent accuracy is this, given the average distance to the Moon is 384,400 km?

FREE Expert Solution

(a)

Speed is expressed as distance over time, v = d/t

Suppose the speed is equal to that of light, then c = d/t

In terms of change in distance:

Δd = cΔt

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Problem Details

Lunar astronauts placed a reflector on the Moon’s surface, off which a laser beam is periodically reflected. The distance to the Moon is calculated from the round-trip time. 

(a) To what accuracy in meters can the distance to the Moon be determined, if this time can be measured to 0.100 ns? 

(b) What percent accuracy is this, given the average distance to the Moon is 384,400 km?

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