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We do, what's basically happening is that the slingshotted object is stealing some kinetic energy off the body it slingshots off.
The maths is well understood but not necessarily easy :-) In the case you describe I don't think you would have any net gain. In order to get into a hyperbolic orbit around the sun you must decrease your orbital velocity below that of the earth from which you are launched. This would be the only way (I think) that you could re-intersect with the earth orbit. Your launch vector will therefore not make best use of your initial orbital speed. Any additional gain on further encounter with the earth would only, at best, put back what you sacrificed by direction of the initial launch. I think it is possible to get a net gain if you permit use of thrusters (and some fuel) to alter the trajectory at key points. In theory, with a perfectly (and highly unlikely) set of fortuately positioned planets in a solar system, you can attain very high speeds indeed. The limitation, I believe, is how close you can get to a planet without effects from the atmosphere. I don't think you can get much (if anything) from one planet and a sun when launched from the planet. I could be wrong though :-)
Can somebody explain to me in simple words how the slingshot effect is working? If a lighter and fast object passes by an heavy one which we can suppose not moving in the space (with respect to the high speed of the first) it looks to me that the trajectory of the lighter object should be symmetrical with respect of the heavier one. I know to be wrong, but where? Thanks, Paolo, Rome.
Quote from: PAOLO137 on 28/04/2015 13:34:06Can somebody explain to me in simple words how the slingshot effect is working? If a lighter and fast object passes by an heavy one which we can suppose not moving in the space (with respect to the high speed of the first) it looks to me that the trajectory of the lighter object should be symmetrical with respect of the heavier one. I know to be wrong, but where? Thanks, Paolo, Rome.No you can't assume the heavy planet is not moving, that's the whole point of the slingshot effect, the planet is moving. Try thinking through with planet moving and come back if you have problems.
How does the slingshot maneuver appear in the frame of reference of the planet? (...where the planet is not moving...)
From the point of view of the planet, the speeds towards and away from the planet are the same.It's very similar to a bat hitting a ball. The speed of the bat towards a ball is (ignoring some losses in the collision) the same as the speed of the bat away from the ball afterwards. But of course the bat is moving!!!The slingshot effect is the same; the planet is moving and you bounce off the planet- except because gravity is attractive you swing behind the planet and get pulled, but otherwise it's exactly the same principle.