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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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my point of view Comment 16 of 16 |

We would need to work out the exit velocity required by gravitational forces.

If we tee'd it up on the highest point, the highest mountain of the moon, there might be a chance to achieve this, right ?

I think not.

Let R be the radius of the moon. It's about 1,700 km or 1.7 x 10^6 meters.

Let g be the acceleration of gravity at the surface : it's about 1.7 m/s^2.

We achieve circular orbit right at the surface if the acceleration of gravity exactly matches the acceleration needed to maintain uniform circular motion: that is, if

g = v^2/R or v = sqrt.(g*R).

This would be about

1700 meters per second. This is probably 40 or 50 times the speed any human golfer could swing a club.

N.B. 40 times the speed is 1600 times the kinetic energy.

Conclusion: It is not possible.

  Posted by Jean-Louis on 2007-02-22 00:28:24
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