legowaw asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 2 years ago

# Could railgun rounds lose velocity in space?

or would it continue at the same velocity when it was fired and continue on forever until it hits something?

Relevance
• 2 years ago

Newton 1 law

• 2 years ago

In space there is no air but there are gravitational fields which would react with the mass of a rail gun projectile. It may slow down or speed up or drift sideways. It is unknown.

• Mike
Lv 7
2 years ago

AIR FRICTION would slow down these rounds and they WOULD NOT go on forever...

• 2 years ago

To CHANGE velocity requires momentum to be exchanged with some other body.

"LOSE" velocity is not meaningful. Things don't HAVE a specific velocity. Both Newton and Einstein agree on that one.

So if they hit something, or are hit by something. Or they interact with gravity or an electric field. Then their velocity can alter.

The MAGNITUDE might increase, decrease or stay the same.

The DIRECTION might be altered no matter which of the three magnitude changes apply.

In other words the answer is that velocity MIGHT alter in some conditions but it doesn't "slow down" in the way that you imagine on earth.

• 2 years ago

a) even in the deepest space, there is gravity. A moving object would be impacted by that gravity and follow a curved path as a result.

b) even in the deepest of space, there is gas and dust... thinly spread, but there to cause 'air resistance' if you will.

c) in theory, yes, straight line, constant velocity. In reality, not so much.... and then it hits something!

• 2 years ago

Depends on location and direction and your reference.

And, note that velocity is always relative. There is no absolute velocity or speed, it is always relative to the earth or the sun or the galaxy or some other reference.

And, space is full of gravitational fields of millions of different amplitudes and directions. Near earth, the major gravitational fields are from the earth, the moon, and the sun, with minor ones due to the other planets. But even other stars and the asteroids have a gravitational field near earth, although it may be too small to measure.

Also space is not a total vacuum. Depending on location, there are some molecules, even between stars. These will slow down a projectile a tiny bit as time passes.

Bottom line, they can lose or gain velocity, depending on your reference and the direction and location and the influence of all the other gravitational fields.

• 2 years ago

There are a few molecules floating around in space, so it would slow *very* slightly over time. But mostly it would continue on forever until it hits something.