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Cannonballs: Size Matters


Surely you have heard about the MythBusters’ cannon accident by now. Underwire gives a nice summary.

Let me start with a couple of quick notes.

I think, for the most part, the MythBusters do a very nice job of staying safe. The seem to take all possible precautions. This can be a difficult thing when they are exploring unknown phenomena. It is very fortunate that there were no injuries. I am fairly certain that cannons have been fired at this location before. However, it is a bomb range and not an artillery range (I think).

And now for some analysis. That is what you really want, right? In this case, I think there are a few questions to consider:

How fast was the muzzle speed of the cannon ball? Why do cannon balls go so much farther than a bullet shot at the same speed? How do you stop a cannon ball anyway? How Fast?

I don’t know all the details of the cannon shot, but I can get a few details from the news video. First, it seems they have located the three things that the cannon ball struck. Here is a shot from the newscast.


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