American Journal of Physics
The slingshot effect is an intriguing phenomenon that has been used effectively by NASA to send spacecraft to outer edges of the solar system. This phenomenon can be satisfactorily explained by Newtonian physics. However, if it is presented as a problem involving four-momentum conservation, the methods of relativistic kinematics easily lead to the conditions necessary for an accelerating as well as a retarding scenario. This problem provides an example that showcases the frequent utility of relativistic methods to analyze problems of Newtonian mechanics.
Dykla, John J.; Cacioppo, Robert; and Gangopadhyaya, Asim, "Gravitational slingshot " (2004). Physics: Faculty Publications and Other Works. 8.
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© 2004 American Association of Physics Teachers
Copyright ©2004 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in American Journal of Physics, 72 , 619-621, (2004) and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1621032 .