In physics, **escape velocity** is the speed at which the kinetic energy plus the gravitational potential energy of an object is zero. It is the speed needed to "break free" from a gravitational field without further propulsion.

For a spherically-symmetric body, escape velocity is calculated by the formula

where *G* is the universal gravitational constant (G=6.67×10−11 m3 kg−1 s−2), M the mass of the planet, star or other body, and r the distance from the center of gravity.

In this equation atmospheric friction (air drag) is not taken into account. A rocket moving out of a gravity well does not actually need to attain escape velocity to do so, but could achieve the same result at any speed with a suitable mode of propulsion and sufficient fuel. Escape velocity only applies to ballistic trajectories.

The term *escape velocity* is actually a misnomer, and it is often more accurately referred to as *escape speed* since the necessary speed is a scalar quantity which is independent of direction (assuming a non-rotating planet and ignoring atmospheric friction).

Read more about Escape Velocity: Overview, Misconception, Orbit, List of Escape Velocities, Calculating An Escape Velocity, Deriving Escape Velocity Using Calculus, Multiple Sources

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### Famous quotes containing the word escape:

“Self-love is often rather arrogant than blind; it does not hide our faults from ourselves, but persuades us that they *escape* the notice of others.”

—Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)