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Does the height of a crater affect the diameter of the crater produced?

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Does the height of a crater affect the diameter of the crater produced?


A crater is formed when a meteor for outer space strikes the lunar surface. The force of the impact obliterates the meteorite and displaces part of the moons surface, pushing the edges surrounding rock. At the same time, more displaced material shoots outward from the crater.

        I will simulate this in the classroom by using a margarine tub full of sand and using different heights to represent the distance it travelled. I will then drop the balls from my chosen heights.

The sand = The moons surface.

The balls =The meteors


All the variables that I can change and what can affect my experiment are;

  • The height in which I drop the ball from.
  • The amount of sand in the tub.
  • The size of the different individual balls.
  • The weight of the balls.
  • Speed of which the balls are travelling at.
  • The surface type
  • The angle of which the ball hits the ground.

All of these changes could affect my final results. I will have to take these into consideration when doing my experiment.


I have chosen to do the different heights that I drop the ball from. I will use only one type of ball to keep my results the same.

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Preliminary work:

Before I can obtain my results from the investigation a trial run needs to be made to verify that the experiment is set up the right way and we could make our results even more accurate with improvement. After setting up the equipment I have found that the way my experiment is set up is a very good way for my experiment. It is going to be set up just as in the labelled diagram.

Preliminary results:

To see which ball gives me the best results I have chosen these three different types of balls. I have chosen a wooden ball because I think that it is very light in weight, I have chosen steel because it is the heaviest out of all the choices and I have also chosen glass because it weighs between the other two balls.

Table of results:

                                        Diameter of crater im cm.

























From looking at this it shows me that the steel ball bearing has given me the best results because from this table it shows me that it gives me a wider range of results. I have chosen to use this ball as I said in my method earlier on.

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Vermeer Callipers, these will then measure the crater diameter more accurately to the nearest mm also I could measure the depth of the crater with these. These could be more observations that I could look at with the affect of the height of the balls are dropped from. If I was not able to uses any of this equipment then I would then get a bigger margarine tub to put the sand into so then I will then be able to get the ruler in the tub and do a straight measurement from that instead of with the compasses. To improve this investigation I could do it in more detail I could use light sensors to do the experiment because then I will be able to see what speed they travel at before it hits the ground this will then join in with the other results I have obtained.

...read more.

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