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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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Further musings | Comment 10 of 16 |

From this site,

It wold seem that the golf ball only needs to achive the proper velcity at the proper elevation from the moon.  There would be a whole class of solutions, resulting in different orbits.  The idea of an infinitessimally short duratio of force is not a problem in this equation, only a limitaion of chemical rocket and stress on materials.

Assuming a short duration of force, the impulse (force *time of application) = the momentum (mass of ball * velocity immedaitely after application of force ends).  The path will be purely ballistic (a parabola) since only gravity will then ineract with the ball.  Choose the club loft (that is the initial angle of inclincation of the motion of the ball) and the magnitude of the "swing" (magnitude of the force) such that at some altitude, the velocity and angle, phi, (see web site) are such that a stable orbit can result.

However, I agree that this would require too large a force for any human to apply, even on the moon, and also that the golf ball would not likley survive the attempt.

  Posted by Kenny M on 2005-12-28 20:42:44
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