Rocket Equation

Imagine 50 sticks of dynamite separated by metal plates. The bottom stick explodes, lifting the pile a bit (energy split 50 ways). Then the bottommost explodes, lifting more (split 49 ways). This continues until the second stick propels the first into orbit.

You can play with the numbers so

explosion energy * (1/50 + 1/49 + …) = escape energy

You quickly realize it gets asymptotic, and extra fuel contributes relatively little to the payload.

What-if comment:

Some thoughts:

Analogy with the food cart

How can you improve this?

Get a smaller cart as you go
High calorie food (peanut butter not celery)
Become stronger yourself. You have more muscle so pull more for the same food

That’s how rockets work! Several stages. Get lighter as you go.

Easier to think of optimizations when it’s you involved, right?

Dynamite explosion for the equation. Food cart for the engineering trade offs.