1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Use of forces to escape the Earth

  1. Mar 10, 2017 #1
    If gravity is as we know a weak force and magnetism is a strong force, would it be possible to use electromagnetism to propel an object fast enough away from the earths surface to escape the pull of gravity and at least put an object in orbit. I assume you would need a long horizontal then curving into vertical trajectory. Has this ever been looked into?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2017 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    Welcome to PF rodgergibbs. Theoretically you could use a rail gun to put an object into orbit from some solar system bodies. However, this isn't practical on earth. One big problem is the fact that orbital velocity is over 17,000 MPH which is well above mach one for a projectile being launched from the surface. Anything fired at that speed from the surface would likely burn up in the atmosphere. And, even if it didn't, it would create seriously loud sonic booms whenever it was launched.
  4. Mar 10, 2017 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    2017 Award

    Hello rodgergibbs, :welcome:
    You still have to overcome gravity ...
    And you bet it's been looked into ! Google electromagnetic railgun
  5. Mar 11, 2017 #4
    We actually do that. All currently used propulsion systems are based on electromagnetic forces. Maybe you need to specify your question.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted