Indoor, Outdoor & Kids' Trampolines

Are Rocket Jumps Possible?


Hey Vsauce, I’m Jake,
and if I wanted to get from here to there, I would obviously run,
put a rocket launcher at my feet, jump in the air, fire a missile below me, and use the explosion
to propel myself into the sky. That’s what Team Fortress 2,
Halo, Quake 3, and many other video games
have led me to believe. Or who could forget Freddy Wong’s
awesome video of a rocket jump in real life? Only thing is how possible
would a rocket jump really be without special effects,
or more importantly, dying. Well, let’s take the most common
carriable rocket launcher, the RPG-7, with over 9 million produced
and it’s most recognizable warhead, the PG-7VL. Now the deadly blast radius for this
is four meters with lethal fragments from the warhead
flying as far as 150 meters from the impact. An average person can do a high jump
around 1.68 meters, and the world record
for the highest jump is 2.45 meters which means you’d still be
in the deadly blast radius. But what would actually
happen to your body if a rocket exploded that close to you? First there would be a blast wave
of highly-compressed air particles that fly at you faster than the speed of sound. Because of the drastic
change in pressure, your eardrums would most likely pop forever. Immediately following is the shockwave
which passes through your whole body rupturing organs and tissue. Mixed in with these waves of energy
is all the debris from the rocket itself and whatever the rocket was aimed at. So let’s say you have strong enough armor
to protect you from a warhead that can penetrate 400 millimeters of steel. OK. So could the RPG-7’s rocket’s explosion
actually lift you? Not enough to make it worth your while and definitely not enough to replicate
what you see in video games. since the launcher’s recoils blow back from the rocket
would actually push you down into the explosion. However, a big problem that you’ll run into
is that the warhead isn’t live right after launch. It needs about five meters of inertia
for it to be fully armed. So if you were to point an RPG-7
at the ground and fire, the rocket would shoot out
and nothing would happen. But even if you had magical armor
and a powerful enough weapon to technically launch you
into the perfect rocket jump, acceleration would be a problem. XKCD has a brilliant what if post about the possibility of using a bunch
of constantly-firing machine guns as a jet pack. It’s worth reading, but points out
that constant thrust is incredibly important. A single shot fired down if strong enough
to propel you like you see in video games would induce a lethal G force. Instead, you want something
with a slow and steady burn kind of like a jet pack,
but explosions are a lot cooler so we just need more of them. Enter Project Orion. Project Orion was a concept spacecraft
that used thousands of nuclear bombs detonated gradually behind the craft
to push it forward, also known as nuclear pulse propulsion. At its maximum speed, it could theoretically
go 10,000 kilometers a second which is around 3% the speed of light. To put that into perspective,
it takes about 47 hours to fly all the way around the world. If Orion was flying at its peak the whole way,
it would take four seconds. Of course, it takes time to achieve
that level of acceleration and time to slow it down,
so if you were to go to say Saturn, it would take more like 2.5 years which isn’t that bad considering
it’s 1.2 billion kilometers away. George Dyson has an amazing
TED talk about Orion, and you can find the link
in the description to watch it. But now that you’re at Saturn,
why not try another classic video game move, the double jump. Titan, the largest of Saturn’s 62 moons has an incredibly dense atmosphere
and lower gravity than Earth, so hypothetically, you could jump
and while in the air jump again using the thick atmosphere
to launch yourself, thus successfully pulling off a double jump
and reaching that illusive weapon upgrade or a giant gold coin. And if you’re going to be there,
you should probably wear a spacesuit. That’s right, Jake.
But even here on Earth, we often have to wear suits or clothing to keep ourselves safe from the elements. Sure humans don’t have fur
to protect themselves, but no other animals wear clothing. Why is that?
Why do only humans make and wear clothing? And why are we embarrassed to be seen naked? Well let’s go find out on Vsauce
where I tackle that very question. Jake, tell them how to get there. Click the annotation right here
or the link at the top of the description. It’s going to be fun. Let’s go. I’ll see you guys over there. Bye.

Reader Comments

  1. Point the back of the RPG-7 to the ground so the blowback propels you and you take no harm? (Minus hitting the ground of course)

  2. Just so you know, tf2 isnt the king of rocket jumping in video games, the game who popularized it and invented it was the quake series.

  3. But wait, there is HE rockets and HEAT rockets, those HE don't penetrate 400mm and have a bigger explosive radius

  4. I began with Vsauce about clothing and then to Vsauce 2 with mindblowing facts then to here and I just looped around with the clothing video on Vsauce

  5. I came from vsauce 1, and went to vsauce 2 because of the annotation, which lead me to vsauce 3, which is now sending me back to vsauce 1. PLS help ive been stuck in this loop for hours

  6. Pharah from overwatch is a great example
    If you shoot a rocket at your feet you will launch but as a corpse.
    But tf2 rocket jumping will always be fun
    Not to mention the market garden

  7. oh my god its a loop!!!1!!111!!

    Vsauce tells you to watch a Vsauce2 video, and in that video it tells you to watch this one, and this one links strait back to the Vsauce video that started the loop!

  8. It takes a true american to look at a rocket launcher and say
    "Let's fly! Heck yeah!"
    The redcoats weren't expecting that…

  9. I remember Ian McCollum actually said that the rpg7 warheads actually didn't have any safeties beside a safety cap that was screwed on the tip of the rocket.

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