David Shortt is a physicist who has been a member of the Planetary Society since the early 1980s. A graduate of MIT and Stanford, he directs research at KLA-Tencor, a semiconductor equipment firm in Silicon Valley. He is passionate about science education and teaches occasional courses for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Santa Clara University.
Have you ever wanted to learn the fundamental physics behind one of the most basic concepts of rocket science? In part one of our two-part series, we explore the foundations of the famous rocket equation.
With the recent announcement by NASA that the 36 year-old spacecraft Voyager 1 has officially entered interstellar space at a distance from the sun about four times further than Neptune's orbit, and with Voyager 2 not far behind, it seems worthwhile to explore how humans managed to fling objects so far into space.