Escape velocity (/m/09g5z)

In physics, escape velocity is the speed at which the sum of an object's kinetic energy and its gravitational potential energy is equal to zero. It is the speed needed to "break free" from the gravitational attraction of a massive body, without further propulsion, i.e., without spending more propellant. For a spherically symmetric massive body such as a star or planet, the escape velocity at a given distance is calculated by the formula where G is the universal gravitational constant, M the mass of the body, and r the distance from the point in space to its center of mass. In this equation atmospheric friction is not taken into account. A rocket moving out of a gravity well does not actually need to attain escape velocity to do so, but could achieve the same result at any speed with a suitable mode of propulsion and sufficient propellant. Escape velocity only applies to ballistic trajectories. The term escape velocity is actually a misnomer, and it is often more accurately referred to as escape speed since the necessary speed is a scalar quantity which is independent of direction.
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