Golf in space: the danger!

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Golf in space: the danger!
« on: 06/12/2006 18:38:51 »
I heard about the cosmonaut who hit a golfball during a recent EVA. This has the potential for disaster.
If you were a long way out in deep space the ball would come back to you, eventually, and hit you (or the ship) at the same speed you hit it.
Objects that are pushed away from satellites will come back and nudge them eventually.
This activity was only safe because there is other stuff in the vicinity  to disturb its trajectory and the atmosphere in low earth orbit is thick enough to slow the ball down.

When you want to launch a satellite into orbit, you have to send it 'up' fast  then, to make it orbit, without crashing back again, like an artillery shell, you have to tilt the ship and  fire the engines to give it just the right amount of tangential speed to make it go in a circle (or whatever orbit you wanted), falling all the time but (as Douglas Adams said about flying) missing the Earth.