What is Escape Velocity?

Image: Rhett Allain. Created with Glowscript / VPython

Sure, you can look up the equation for escape velocity, but what does it really mean?

Let’s start with the most conceptual idea possible. Suppose you have a ball and you toss it straight up into the air. As the ball rises, it decreases in speed until it reaches its highest point. After that, it starts moving back down and increasing in speed. That’s something we have all probably experienced (throwing a ball).

--

--

--

Physics faculty, science blogger of all things geek. Technical Consultant for CBS MacGyver and MythBusters. WIRED blogger.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Resolution Principle

Bilinear Pairings on Bitcoin

Why mathematicians and programmers got into a Twitter spat

Simply, Kirchhoff’s Laws

The Probabilistic Deutsch-Jozsa Quantum Algorithm

PERMUTATIONS

Black Swan. Red Herring.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Rhett Allain

Rhett Allain

Physics faculty, science blogger of all things geek. Technical Consultant for CBS MacGyver and MythBusters. WIRED blogger.

More from Medium

Science Starter: Observing the Sky

A Satisfying Chess Puzzle

Applications of the Fibonacci Sequence

How Far Is the Horizon