Today, I was watching a movie, in which a person shot a gun in air. The bullet went high in sky, became stationary for a moment and dived back and killing a non-innocent person by hitting him in head directly. And yes, the bullet was shot at near vertical.

But, the question is, is it possible?

I know that an ideal projectile will reach ground with speed equal to launching speed. But in this case air is also present which will constantly decrease bullet's velocity, until it reaches it terminal velocity. But is it fatal?

Also there is another movie in which they make a type of bomb with gravity only. They use a long and heavy rod planted in a satellite (no explosives), which whenever required, is not launched, but just dropped. And they showed it powerful enough to clean a whole city. Is it actually possible and do we need to care? Can someone do this in reality? I know in ideally it should hit at $11 km s^{-1}$, but what about reality?

As per WillO's comment, I found this in a Wikipedia's comment on G.I. Joe on the page kinetic bombardment:

However, the movie misrepresented physics by claiming the rod would not be "launched" or "fired" but merely "dropped". If it were released without force it would orbit the Earth in the same manner as the platform itself.


closed as off-topic by Kyle Kanos, Aaron Stevens, GiorgioP, Qmechanic Mar 15 at 12:42

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about survivability of a person given certain scenarios and, separately, about whether movie physics is real or not. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Mar 15 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ Also, Q2 is a dupe of physics.stackexchange.com/q/110108/25301 $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Mar 15 at 11:58
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    $\begingroup$ What does "just dropped" mean? What causes the long heavy rod to leave its orbit? $\endgroup$ – WillO Mar 15 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ @WillO These were the words used in movie, but actually, they seemed to push it a little to do so. $\endgroup$ – PranshuKhandal Mar 15 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Kyle Kanos The point is, is terminal velocity of a bullet large enough to kill someone? I think it is still a nice question and you may see as per John W. answer it is not for a vertical case, it loses its direction due to tumbling.. $\endgroup$ – PranshuKhandal Mar 15 at 12:47

I think this would be better suited for the Skeptics SE, but here goes...

The Mythbusters tested the "bullet fired into the air" myth and concluded it's plausible under certain conditions (bullet fired under an angle so it maintains it's spin and thus doesn't tumble). See here.

As for the second thing, it's called kinetic bombardment. The US Air Force is doing research on it and claims a tungsten rod 6m long and 0.3m in diameter would deliver the energy equivalent of several tons of TNT. So yes, absolutely possible. "Parking" such rods in an orbit around Earth would be quite expensive though.


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