Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Escape Velocity
Name:  Steve L.
Status:  other
Age:  30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

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 and efficiency.

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

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory