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Baseball on the Moon

April 11, 2018

Could a well-thrown baseball sail from the moon’s surface into orbit?

Transcript

Full moon. (Susanne Bard)

Full moon. (Susanne Bard)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Baseball on the Moon. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

If you’re on the Moon and you throw a baseball hard enough, could you send it into orbit? That’s what listener Ryan Duryea and his son Max want to know. Well, NASA physicist Betsy Pugel told us even the hardest throwing baseball pitcher couldn’t do it, since the Moon’s escape velocity is over 5000 miles per hour. But…

BETSY PUGEL (NASA):

…even if you weren’t a baseball player, if you were to go somewhere else, you could throw something off of the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, because the escape velocity is close to about 20-ish miles per hour.  

HIRSHON:

If even that’s too much effort, she says the escape velocity of most near-earth asteroids is less than one mile per hour. If you’d like to pitch a science question, call us at 1-800-WHY- ISIT. Or email us from our website, scienceupdate.com. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon