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"Straight line or arc?" Topic

9 Posts

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411 hits since 29 Apr 2018
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Comments or corrections?

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP29 Apr 2018 9:43 a.m. PST

Would a spacecraft designed to reach the outer limits of the solar system or beyond travel through the solar system in a straight line out from the Earth/Sun, or would it travel in an arc? It's always been my understanding that they traveled in an arc. What say the hive mind?

MajorB29 Apr 2018 9:48 a.m. PST

The effects of gravity cause all spacecraft moving in the vicinity of planets or moons to follow an arc.

Dynaman878929 Apr 2018 10:10 a.m. PST

With current technology any spacecraft designed to go to the edge of the solar system would use gravity boosting so not only an arc, at least two of them and probably more.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 Apr 2018 10:14 a.m. PST

Due to gravitational effects from the sun etc, it would take massive amounts of energy to force the craft to fly a straight line.

bobspruster29 Apr 2018 12:44 p.m. PST

….and you'd probably have to stop on Europa to take on fuel.

emckinney29 Apr 2018 3:17 p.m. PST

The Arc is less obvious than you expect, but after you leave the solar system, you eventually end up in a straight line (with very minor deviations for distant stars, etc.

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP29 Apr 2018 4:51 p.m. PST

Thanks, gents. That was my understanding also. Was just watching a sci fi movie at the time and showed the rocket heading straight out from the earth/sun. Didn't think it looked right. That's what I get for second-guessing myself.

billthecat29 Apr 2018 9:31 p.m. PST

It would travel through the warp, where petty considerations like mass, velocity, fuel, gravity, and Euclidean-geometry are no more than a passing fad…

zircher29 Apr 2018 10:27 p.m. PST

Part of the question is which is more important, time or fuel. You can blast straight out-system plotting an intercept course for your point on the rim or you can fly a course to take you to one or more planets first to do the gravity sling-shot thing.

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