Parabolic Projectile Motion: Shooting a Harmless Tranquilizer Dart at a Falling Monkey

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A veterinarian (who oddly enough looks like Robin Hood) points a harmless tranquilizer dart directly at a monkey hanging from a branch. The monkey, using its incredible spider-monkey sense, realizes what is going on, and drops from the branch at the exact instant the veterinarian fires. What happens next?

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Option A: The tranquilizer dart misses, passing above the monkey. Option B: The tranquilizer dart hits the monkey. Option C: You need more information (initial dart speed, distance, size of the monkey, etc.) to know what happens.

Use this Demonstration to manipulate the initial dart speed, distance, initial angle, and even gravity (an outer-space monkey on another planet, perhaps?), in order to find out under what conditions the monkey can escape.

Disclaimer: No monkey (or veterinarian) was harmed in the testing of this Demonstration.

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Contributed by: Roberto Castilla-Meléndez, Roxana Ramírez-Herrera, and José Luis Gómez-Muñoz (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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