Experiment 18: Shoot the Monkey

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Don’t worry. No monkeys were harmed in the making of this video.

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Experiment 18: Shoot the Monkey
Imagine shooting a dart with a blowgun through two hoops and hitting a target. Now imagine that both hoops are moving-and the target is moving, too. Impossible! No. With the right setup, it works automatically. It’s all physics in action.

This is our variation on a classic science demonstration called “Shoot the Monkey”. Suppose a monkey is trying to evade a hunter’s dart. The monkey is hanging in a tree, and the moment the gun fires, he lets go and drops from the tree. Where should the hunter aim so that the dart will still hit this moving target?

The surprising answer is that the hunter should aim directly at the monkey.

Get all the details on how to do this yourself in our book, How to Build a Hovercraft.

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An MIT Physics demo of "Shoot the Monkey."

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