Main Hurl Itintothe Sun Discussion

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11:40:09 AM Apr 18th 2012
edited by thorgold
I'm tired and probably failing physics somewhere, but the page introduction's "Artistic License - Physics" example assumes that you're launching in a straight line, in which case you would need the aforementioned massive delta-vee to cancel out the momentum from being launched from earth.

Couldn't you just aim to compensate for orbital momentum so that the object will "drift" into the sun? Sort of like shooting a target from a moving car - fire "early," and the bullet's horizontal velocity will carry it into the proper lane during its travel time.

Anyone have a general citation for that claim? I doubt that it was made up on the fly (nor am I claiming such), but I'd like to see the source data myself.
09:07:24 AM Feb 1st 2013
Trouble is, small changes in orbital velocity don't cause you to just fall — they merely lower your perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) by a tiny fraction. Because as you fall toward the Sun you speed up again. So you really do have to negate most of your orbital velocity, otherwise you're in an elliptical orbit.

Example: the MESSENGER probe to Mercury required a big booster and lots of gravity assists from Venus and Mercury itself, both to catch up with Mercury and to keep from swinging back out to Earth's orbital distance again.
03:54:52 PM Jan 16th 2012
Is the page quote supposed to refer to a date consisting of black boxes?
03:55:45 PM Jan 16th 2012
Yes; SCP Foundation stuff is often littered with redactions like that.
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