Full record for gravity well n.

Definition the vicinity of a large mass, such as a planet or star, in which significant energy must be expended in order to move a long away from the mass
OED requirements antedating 1963
Earliest cite Winston P. Sanders (Poul Anderson), 'Industrial Revolution'
Comment Mike Christie submitted a cite from Larry Niven's "At the Bottom of a Hole" in the December 1966 Galaxy.
David Tate submitted a cite from Robert Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" in the January 1966 If.
Edward Bornstein submitted a cite from a reprint of Arthur C. Clarke's "Neutron Tide"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1970 original magazine appearance.
Enoch Forrester submitted a 1987 cite from John M. Ford's "How Much for Just the Planet?"
Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a 1993 reprint of Vernor Vinge's 1992 "A Fire Upon the Deep".
Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a 1983 reprint of Alan Dean Foster's "The Tar-Aiym Krang"; Douglas Winston verified the cite in the 1972 first edition.
Mike Christie submitted a 1963 cite from Poul Anderson's "Industrial Revolution", which was published as by Winston P. Sanders.
David E. Siegel submitted a cite from an undated reprint of Heinlein's "The Rolling Stones"; we would like to verify this in its original publication (Charles Scribner's sons, 1952).

Fred Galvin submitted a 1957 cite for "Gravitational well" from Poul Anderson's "Life Cycle"

Last modified 31 July, 2019

Citations for gravity well n.

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1957 P. Anderson Life Cycle in Mag. Fantasy & Sci. Fiction July 53/2 He was the pilot and engineer, the only other Terrestrial on Mercury. When you dove this far down into the sun's monstrous gravitational well, you couldn't take a big crew along.
1963 “Winston P. Sanders” Industrial Revolution in Analog Sci. Fact/Sci. Fiction Sept. 22/1 It's actually harder to maintain human-type conditions on so big a mass, with a useless atmosphere around you, than on a lump in space like this. And the gravity wells are so deep.
1966 R. A. Heinlein in If Jan. 62/2 But Luna has energy of position; she sits at top of gravity well eleven kilometers per second deep and kept from falling in by curb only two and a half km/s high.
1966 L. Niven in Galaxy Dec. 102/1 Even the ships of Earth use only a little of their fuel getting in and out of their pet gravity well. Most of it gets burned getting them from place to place fast. And Mars is lighter than Earth.
1970 A. C. Clarke in Galaxy Mag. May 84/1 They were still accelerating when a fantastically unlikely accident occurred. Flatbush ran straight into the gravity well of a neutron star.
1972 A. D. Foster Tar-Aiym Krang 11 A Doublekay carried the gravity well of a small sun on its nose, like a bee carrying pollen.
1987 J. M. Ford How much for Just Planet? 36 They're headed straight for the surface?. Any deeper in the gravity well and the tractors won't be reliable.
1991 E. Arnason Woman of Iron People (1992) i. iii. 71 No one is ever going to build a ship at the bottom of a gravity well.
1991 G. Bear & S. M. Stirling Man Who Would Be Kzin in L. Niven et al. Man-Kzin Wars IV 256 To Earth-bound flatlanders, the war at the top of the solar system's gravity well, with fleet maneuvering over periods of months and years, was a distant and dimly perceived threat.
1992 A. Steele Labyrinth of Night 21 Once having escape Earth's gravity well, beyond the orbit of the Moon, the vessels had rendezvous-ed in deep space.
1993 K. S. Robinson Green Mars (new ed.) 334 Given the acute population and environmental problems on Earth, and the space elevator currently being constructed there to match the one already on Mars, the gravity wells could be surmounted and mass emigration would certainly follow ?
1998 Interzone July 9 We dug deep into the gravity well, for as you may know the lower the perijove the greater the assist obtained.
1998 D. Brin Heaven's Reach 257 Soon we verified they were orbiting artifacts, jostling deep inside the sheer gravity well.
2000 Interzone Aug. 8/1 The habitat's delta-vee was modest to start with, but the steady push from its network of ion-boosters would give a cumulative effect that would allow Liberty to break out of the Sun's gravity-well: Liberty had become an arkship.
2005 C. Stross Accelerando i. 15 Mars is just dumb mass at the bottom of a gravity well; there isn't even a biosphere there.
2006 Analog June 101/1 The interstellar drive could not be opreated safely deep within the gravity well of the Double Suns, but nature had provided.
2006 N. Asher Polity Agent xiii. 296 Glancing to her left she observed the gravity well of a sun drawing the web down into a hole.