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The Longest Drive (Posted on 2005-12-26) Difficulty: 3 of 5
Is it possible to hit a golf ball on the surface of the moon and have it achieve a stable orbit around the moon?

No Solution Yet Submitted by Josh70679    
Rating: 3.5000 (2 votes)

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re: Not a rocket scientist but... | Comment 8 of 16 |
(In reply to Not a rocket scientist but... by Kenny M)

As mentioned in my previous comments, the only relevance of escape velocity is its use in calculating circular orbit velocity.

If given a large enough short-lived force (beyond what a golfer could provide), the difficulties in placing the ball in orbit around the moon would have to do with:

1. Whether the application of such a force would damage the ball.

2. consider that the orbit has to include the point of departure (offset by the rotation of the moon in the mean time). So if there were a small upward component in the trajectory, the next time the ball came around to that point in its orbit, it would have to be rising out of the ground--an impossibility.  If placed in circular orbit (horizontal acceleration of exactly the right size) it could run into mountains.  Perhaps it could be given a sufficiently large horizontal motion that the point of launch would be the perilune of the orbit, and mountains would be sufficiently far away that the ball's distance from the center of the moon would be high enough by the time it reached the mountains that it would clear them.

  Posted by Charlie on 2005-12-28 13:41:32
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