A GPS satellite develops a fault whereby it moves into an orbit 19 500 km above the Earth’s surface and also emits a weak signal whose power is only 23 W. What will be the power per square metre of the signal received on the Earth’s surface? Choose the nearest value from the list below. (W/m2 represents ‘watts per square metre’.)

Select one:

2 x 10−5 W/m2

4 x 10−4 W/m2

4 x 10−16 W/m2

2 x 10−15 W/m2

5 x 10−17 W/m2

5 x 10−8 W/m2

5 x 10−15 W/m2


I've read over and over how to try and figure this question out and I just don't understand it. Can anybody please help me / explain this to me please?

Guest Nov 28, 2017

5+0 Answers


Go online to this link and read about the attenuation of the electromagnetic signals from space or other sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-space_path_loss



I = W/d^2 =23/19,500^2 =~6 x 10^-8 - That is the closest I get !!.

Guest Nov 28, 2017
edited by Guest  Nov 28, 2017


This post has an explanation of the physics by Sir Alan and an example by Heureka.


Here is a reproduction of  Heureka’s math, using the data from this question.


\(\begin{array}{rcl} I &=& \frac{P}{4\cdot \pi\cdot r^2} \qquad P = 23\ \text{watt} \qquad r = 19\ 500\ 000\ m\\ I &=& \frac{23}{4\cdot \pi\cdot 19500000^2} \\ \\ I &=& 4.8\cdot10^{-15}\ \frac{W}{m^2}\\ \end{array}\)


Closest answer from list:  5 x 10−15 W/m2



It’s usually not necessary to reinvent the wheel, but you must be careful not to inflate the tire on the wheel with hot air from a blarney bag. 

GingerAle  Nov 28, 2017
edited by GingerAle  Nov 28, 2017

See here:  http://web2.0calc.com/questions/calculate_1

Guest Nov 28, 2017

It’s time to . . . re-tire, Mr. BB. At least change the air . . .indecision

GingerAle  Nov 28, 2017

LOL Time to re-tire or at least change the air [error] hahahaha!

Guest Nov 29, 2017

18 Online Users


New Privacy Policy (May 2018)

We use cookies to personalise content and advertisements and to analyse access to our website. Furthermore, our partners for online advertising receive pseudonymised information about your use of our website. Please click on "Accept cookies" if you agree to the setting of cookies. Cookies that do not require consent remain unaffected by this, see cookie policy and privacy policy.