Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains Gravity Assists

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What is a gravity assist? How does it work? On this explainer, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice discuss how spacecraft use gravity and orbital speed to slingshot to their destination. How do you speed up or slow down without fuel?

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Take a trip with Voyager 1 and 2 and how they used gravity assists to generate enough energy to leave the solar system. We uncover the mystery of its effectiveness: shouldn’t the same gravity that pulls you in and speeds you up, pulls you back as you exit? Discover the art of the slingshot, orbital speed, and “planetary mugging.” What happens to a planet’s orbit if you slingshot enough? What’s the official past tense of slingshot? All that, plus, more enlightened analogies from Chuck.

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Science meets pop culture on StarTalk! Astrophysicist & Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, his comic co-hosts, guest celebrities & scientists discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Keep Looking Up!

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