Could you explain how a sattelite can pick up more speed after circling the sun? I believe it is called the slingshot effect? Wouldn't any speed gained from the gravitational pull of the sun be counteracted by the same gravity when the sattelite was distancing itself from the sun?

Asked by: Joe Jakubiak


Please visit the slingshot effect web page at

for a clear answer using basic principles of momentum and energy conservation.

This web page includes links to sites with related material, including background from NASA.
Answered by: Bob Johnson, Ph.D. Theoretical Physics, Durham University, UK.