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Fly Me to the Moon: An Insider's Guide to the New Science of Space Travel

Fly Me to the Moon: An Insider's Guide to the New Science of Space Travel

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Fly Me to the Moon: An Insider's Guide to the New Science of Space Travel

valutazioni:
4/5 (2 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
156 pagine
1 ora
Pubblicato:
Sep 12, 2013
ISBN:
9781400849192
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

When a leaf falls on a windy day, it drifts and tumbles, tossed every which way on the breeze. This is chaos in action. In Fly Me to the Moon, Edward Belbruno shows how to harness the same principle for low-fuel space travel--or, as he puts it, "surfing the gravitational field."


Belbruno devised one of the most exciting concepts now being used in space flight, that of swinging through the cosmos on the subtle fluctuations of the planets' gravitational pulls. His idea was met with skepticism until 1991, when he used it to get a stray Japanese satellite back on course to the Moon. The successful rescue represented the first application of chaos to space travel and ushered in an emerging new field.


Part memoir, part scientific adventure story, Fly Me to the Moon gives a gripping insider's account of that mission and of Belbruno's personal struggles with the science establishment. Along the way, Belbruno introduces readers to recent breathtaking advances in American space exploration. He discusses ways to capture and redirect asteroids; presents new research on the origin of the Moon; weighs in on discoveries like 2003 UB313 (now named Eris), a dwarf planet detected in the far outer reaches of our solar system--and much more.


Grounded in Belbruno's own rigorous theoretical research but written for a general audience, Fly Me to the Moon is for anybody who has ever felt moved by the spirit of discovery.

Pubblicato:
Sep 12, 2013
ISBN:
9781400849192
Formato:
Libro

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Anteprima del libro

Fly Me to the Moon - Edward Belbruno

Moon

Chapter One

A Moment of Discovery

Houston, we have a problem. That plea for help got Tom Hanks and his crew out of a jam on Apollo 13. But, who do you call when you don’t work for NASA? … NASA!

At my door was a person I had never seen before. He introduced himself as James Miller. He had a problem.

The Japanese had launched a space probe to the Moon about three months earlier, in late January 1990. The main purpose of the mission was to demonstrate Japan’s technical prowess in spaceflight. They had been gradually developing their technical abilities in space travel since the 1970s with less ambitious Earth orbiting missions. By 1990 they had built a considerable infrastructure to handle missions beyond Earth orbit including the Kagoshima Space Center. Now they wanted to become the first country to reach our neighbor after the Americans and Soviets. For Japan, this was an important mission, supported with national pride and a great deal of publicity.

But the mission had failed. Miller wanted to know: Could I save it? He had tried all the other obvious solutions and I was the last resort.

The Japanese had launched two robotic spacecraft MUSES-A & B into Earth orbit. These two spacecraft were attached to each other as they orbited the Earth. The smaller one, MUSES-B (renamed Hagoromo), the size of a grapefruit, detached on March 19 and went off to the Moon on a standard route, called a Hohmann transfer. But the Japanese lost contact with it, and it wasn’t known if it ever made it to lunar orbit. It was last observed approaching the Moon, and preparing to go into orbit by firing its rocket engines, when communication was

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  • (4/5)
    A very quick read that has some interesting applications of chaos theory for space travel. The presentation is pretty basic (no math required), and the illustrations are likewise simple and uncluttered. The flow of the book seemed disjointed, but it didn't really matter all that much. The most compelling part, to me, was just the concept that space travel could be done much differently than it is currently - if travel time is not critical (i.e., for payloads and supplies to Mars, the outer planets, or beyond) and if cost is important. Gravity is your friend.
  • (4/5)
    Belbrunno used to work for JPL and he developed an exciting low energy transfer with a ballistic capture orbit that utilizes chaos theory.