Name: Steve L.
Why is it necessary to reach escape velocity to leave
earth. If a rocket can get any distance at all off the ground, it should
be able to continue at "any" speed. I suspect it has to do with fuel use
At any smaller speed, your path would be an ellipse, and bring you back
around to orbit the earth (or even crash into it). If it were to work at
any speed, then a baseball that is hit could leave the earth. Most stay in
the ball park. Some land across the street.
---Nathan A. Unterman
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Update: June 2012