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An astronaut standing on earth can easily lift a wrench having a mass of 1kg , but not a scientific instrument mass of 100 kg.

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2 Answers

Jim's answer regarding f=ma is applicable.
Keep in mind that the equation f=ma works in the presence of gravity too.
The net force f includes the force of gravity as well as the force the astronaut applies. So, to lift an object in the presence of gravity, the astronaut must overcome the force of gravity.
Malissa,
           In the absence of gravity the equation of motion for an object of mass m is f=ma. The astronaut can exert a maximum force say Fm so the resulting acceleration is a=Fm/m. Notice that the larger the mass the smaller the acceleration. Now if we apply the same force to the 2 masses 1kg and 100kg the acceleration will be 100 times smaller for the 100 kg mass than for the 1kg mass.
 
Jim

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There is a force due to gravity exerted on objects in the ISS; it's just exactly counterbalanced by the centrifugal force due to its orbital speed.
The correct term is centripetal force(mV2/R) and since the sum is zero all you need to consider is net external.

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