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Newton's Third Law

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

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The Art of Force

Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight...
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The International Space Station [Figure1]

Newton’s Third Law

Newton's Third Law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In otherwords, any force applied to an object, will also be applied from the object to the original force supplier. A common example of this is when you punch something, your fist also hurts. This is because the object that you punched returned a force back to your fist, equal to the force you provided.

Creative Applications

Newton’s Third Law can also be seen in some less obvious examples. You are an astronaut, and you leave the space station with a small box that allows you to test the air quality. Suddenly, you realize that you aren’t attached to the string that connects you to the space station.

1. How do you get back to the ship?

2. When playing tug of war, does it matter how hard you pull?

3. When playing bloody knuckles, a game where you take turns punching each others fists to see who bails out first, does it matter how hard you punch?

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  1. [1]^ Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight...; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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