Puzzler #4. Propelling the Boat

A rope has been tied to the stern of a small boat floating in still water.  Is it possible for someone standing in the boat to propel it forward by jerking on the free end of the rope?

Now consider a space capsule drifting in space. Could it be propelled by similar means?

Concepts involved:

  • friction, force of friction, impulse, action and reaction.

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