My inquiry:


I have been a student in your physics class. I don’t know much about physics or astronomy (yet!) but my friend Dave says that with enough force one can hit a mouse into space with a tennis racket without it falling back to earth. I told him that the mouse is too light and that I had tried it once with a frog and it didn’t work. He told me that they make machines that collide particles into each other and that if you put that machine on its side and shot a mouse from one side and a tennis racket from the other that the bounce from the racket could shoot the mouse into space. Is this really true? I don’t believe him because he’s never taken your physics class and has never tried it. He keeps insisting that it is true. Please get back to me so this matter will be resolved. Thank you.


Rick Cabrera


Their response:

On Mon, 21 Apr 2014 10:35:47 CDT, Roger Bengtson wrote:

Dear Rick Cabera
There is not a simple answer to you question. In a vacuum where there is no drag on the mouse, certainly it could be given enough momentum to go into space. With the drag coming from the atmosphere you could not send the mouse into space.

Roger Bengtosn

My response:

Professor Bengston,

So I spoke to my friend Dave about the mouse in a vacuum idea, and he is still convinced that one could produce enough escape velocity through the racket force to eject it into outer space. I don’t know any human that could do this, although it would make an interesting sport, but Dave says that a vacuum is only just a superabundance of virtual particles coming in and out of existence, and that this energy could reduce the atmospheric drag causing the mouse to fall back to Earth. I don’t know what any of this means. Dave hasn’t taken your class, so I don’t trust him. He also says that if neutrinos (i dont know what those are) are found to have mass that during the winter months that this would provide as extra push towards achieving escape velocity. Is any of this true or make any sense at all? Physics is fascinating but confusing, professor.


Rick Cabrera










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