the area of space near a large mass (such as a planet or star), in which significant energy must be expended in order to counteract the object’s gravitational pull
They were aiming only to get off a small world with negligible air resistance, and not even to leave its gravity well entirely.
He was the pilot and engineer, the only other Terrestrial on Mercury. When you dove this far down into the sun’s monstrous gravitational well, you couldn’t take a big crew along. ]
It’s actually harder to maintain human-type conditions on so big a mass, with a useless atmosphere around you, than on a lump in space like this. And the gravity wells are so deep.
But Luna has energy of position; she sits at top of gravity well eleven kilometers per second deep and kept from falling in by curb only two and a half km/s high.
Even the ships of Earth use only a little of their fuel getting in and out of their pet gravity well. Most of it gets burned getting them from place to place fast. And Mars is lighter than Earth.
They were still accelerating when a fantastically unlikely accident occurred. Flatbush ran straight into the gravity well of a neutron star.
They're headed straight for the surface… Any deeper in the gravity well and the tractors won’t be reliable.
Once having escape Earth’s gravity well, beyond the orbit of the Moon, the vessels had rendezvous-ed in deep space.
Given the acute population and environmental problems on Earth, and the space elevator currently being constructed there to match the one already on Mars, the gravity wells could be surmounted and mass emigration would certainly follow…
Soon we verified they were orbiting artifacts, jostling deep inside the sheer gravity well.
The habitat’s delta-vee was modest to start with, but the steady push from its network of ion-boosters would give a cumulative effect that would allow Liberty to break out of the Sun’s gravity-well: Liberty had become an arkship.
Mars is just dumb mass at the bottom of a gravity well; there isn’t even a biosphere there.
The interstellar drive could not be opreated safely deep within the gravity well of the Double Suns, but nature had provided.
Poul Anderson, "The Snows of Ganymede"
Fred Galvin submitted a 1957 cite for "Gravitational well" from Poul Anderson's "Life Cycle".
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1955 cite from Poul Anderson's "Snows of Ganymede"
Last modified 2021-01-21 04:36:15
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.