Previous: Newton’s Laws

How fast must an object travel to escape a *gravitational potential well*? At the **escape velocity**, or faster.

G = *Gravitational constant*, 6.67300 × 10^{-11} m^{3} kg^{-1} s^{-2}

M = Mass of the planet (or whatever it is)

r = distance of the object from the center of mass of the planet

This formula is obtainable by simply following these steps:

*Mechanical energy*=*Kinetic energy*+*Gravitational potential energy*- Mechanical energy = 0. This gives us the condition that the
*kinetic energy*counterbalances exactly the*gravitational potential energy*, namely, the object has just the minimum velocity required to overcome the gravitational potential of the planet (this is the*escape velocity*). - We simply isolate the velocity from:

See how *m* cancels from each side, and the *escape velocity* does not depend at all on the mass of the object! The escape velocity near the surface of Earth is = 11.2 km/s

Next: Ellipse

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