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

by

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


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.

Review:

"As astrophysicist and NASA consultant Belbruno explains in this short book, one of the reasons for the exorbitant cost of space flight is the need for huge amounts of fuel. In addition to the cost of the fuel itself, is its weight: 'it is very expensive to bring one pound of anything to the Moon — about a quarter million dollars.' By solving what are known as three-body equations (the three bodies, for example, being Earth, the Moon and a spacecraft), Belbruno has discovered trajectories between celestial bodies that make use of both chaos theory and gravitational forces, and enable space travel with a fraction of the fuel normally used. The downside is the greater time needed for travel. A trip to the Moon using Belbruno's method, might take three months rather than three days. But this difference poses no trouble for sending supplies and could dramatically lower the cost of building a permanent base on the Moon. Although Belbruno's main ideas are expressed simply enough for the average reader to appreciate, his account of his efforts is disjointed and not as rewarding as the underlying science. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"As astrophysicist and NASA consultant Belbruno explains in this short book, one of the reasons for the exorbitant cost of space flight is the need for huge amounts of fuel. In addition to the cost of the fuel itself, is its weight: 'it is very expensive to bring one pound of anything to the Moon — about a quarter million dollars.' By solving what are known as three-body equations (the three bodies, for example, being Earth, the Moon and a spacecraft), Belbruno has discovered trajectories between celestial bodies that make use of both chaos theory and gravitational forces, and enable space travel with a fraction of the fuel normally used. The downside is the greater time needed for travel. A trip to the Moon using Belbruno's method, might take three months rather than three days. But this difference poses no trouble for sending supplies and could dramatically lower the cost of building a permanent base on the Moon. Although Belbruno's main ideas are expressed simply enough for the average reader to appreciate, his account of his efforts is disjointed and not as rewarding as the underlying science. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[This book] will truly excite anyone interested in the future of space travel....Grounded in real physics, Belbruno's ideas will tantalize the space audience." Booklist

Review:

"Almost fifty years after the beginning of space flight, Belbruno's work offers a realistic beginning for minimum-fuel and maximum-payload trajectories for interplanetary operations. It is a mark of sophistication in the evolution of space travel that simplified solutions to the vexing many-body problem are found to have practical applications. Belbruno's three-body solution for low-thrust minimum-fuel trajectories serves well not only the future of space flight but helps astronomy in understanding the sometimes erratic motions of celestial bodies." Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut

Review:

"Fly Me to the Moon is a fast, easy read that explains in simple nonscientific terms very complex matters of celestial mechanics, and it is delightful reading for students and professionals to update or learn very important new background materials. It is also a must-read for the lawyer-scientist." Ambassador Edward R. Finch, Jr.

Review:

"This is an excellent book. The author succeeds in writing an exciting story about his research on low-fuel space travel, a subject that is not widely known but that will interest many readers. Moreover, the mathematical aspects of chaos in the context of space missions is well treated at the level of the nonexpert." Florin Diacu, University of Victoria

Review:

"This is a good story. It is rare to see a nonpedantic book on celestial mechanics that gives some backroom stories about trajectory geeks. Belbruno ties very abstract concepts to real problems and situations." Wendell W. Mendell, NASA Johnson Space Center, Astromaterials Research & Exploration Science Directorate

Synopsis:

"Almost fifty years after the beginning of space flight, Belbruno's work offers a realistic beginning for minimum--fuel and maximum--payload trajectories for interplanetary operations. It is a mark of sophistication in the evolution of space travel that simplified solutions to the vexing many-body problem are found to have practical applications. Belbruno's three-body solution for low-thrust minimum-fuel trajectories serves well not only the future of space flight but helps astronomy in understanding the sometimes erratic motions of celestial bodies."--Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut

"Fly Me to the Moon is a fast, easy read that explains in simple nonscientific terms very complex matters of celestial mechanics, and it is delightful reading for students and professionals to update or learn very important new background materials. It is also a must-read for the lawyer-scientist."--Ambassador Edward R. Finch, Jr.

"This is an excellent book. The author succeeds in writing an exciting story about his research on low-fuel space travel, a subject that is not widely known but that will interest many readers. Moreover, the mathematical aspects of chaos in the context of space missions is well treated at the level of the nonexpert."--Florin Diacu, University of Victoria

"This is a good story. It is rare to see a nonpedantic book on celestial mechanics that gives some backroom stories about trajectory geeks. Belbruno ties very abstract concepts to real problems and situations."--Wendell W. Mendell, NASA Johnson Space Center, Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate

"This is an excellent book. It is an inside look at the important new field of chaotic trajectories by one of the masters and originators of the field. As we continue into space, I think we will be hearing more and more about these clever trajectories. Ed Belbruno has covered in a beautiful and interesting way the important applications of chaos to astrophysics and spacecraft trajectories. He also tells a very interesting personal story of his battles to get these trajectories used, and how he was able to save the Hiten spacecraft and get it to the moon. This is a great story, and he tells it very well."--Richard Gott, Princeton University

"The author's newly discovered interplanetary highways offer a romantic reflection of the pre-rocket, pre-airplane era, where balloons would transport us, with hardly any energy of our own, from one unexplored vista to another."--From the foreword by Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History, author of Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Edward Belbruno is President of Innovative Orbital Design, visiting research collaborator in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, and a consultant on advanced astrodynamics with NASA. He is the author of Capture Dynamics and Chaotic Motions in Celestial Mechanics.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Neil deGrasse Tyson ix

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Chapter 1 A Moment of Discovery 1

Chapter 2 An Uncertain Start 5

Chapter 3 Conventional Way to the Moon 9

A Fuel Hog 14

Chapter 4 A Question 17

Chapter 5 Chaos and Surfing the Gravitational Field 29

What Is Chaos? 31

Chapter 6 Using Art to Find Chaotic Regions 37

An Oil Painting Unveiling Dynamical

Processes 37

Chapter 7 WSB--A Chaotic No-Man's-Land 41

Chapter 8 Getting to the WSB--Low Energy Transfers 49

Chapter 9 Rescue of a Lunar Mission 55

Skepticism, Politics, and a Bittersweet Success 63

Chapter 10 Significance of Hiten 69

Chapter 11 Salvage of HGS-1, and a Christmas Present 77

Chapter 12 Other Space Missions and Low Energy Transfers 83

LGAS Reincarnated: SMART 1 83

Europa Orbiter and Prometheus 85

A Lunar Transportation System 91

Chapter 13 Hopping Comets and Earth Collision 95

Potential Earth Collision 108

Lexell 109

Jupiter-Hopping Earth-Crossing Comets Present a Danger 111

Kuiper Belt Objects and Neptune Hopping 113

Ballistic Escape from the Earth-Moon System, and Asteroid Capture 115

Chapter 14 The Creation of the Moon by Another World 119

Chapter 15 Beyond the Moon and to the Stars 129

Pluto to Alpha Centauri 129

Comets Moving between the Sun and Alpha Centauri 133

Chapter 16 A Paradigm Shift and the Future 137

Bibliography 141

Index 147

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691128221
Author:
Belbruno, Edward
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Foreword:
Tyson, Neil de Grasse
Author:
Tyson, Neil de Grasse
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Gravity
Subject:
Astrophysics & Space Science
Subject:
Chaotic Behavior in Systems
Subject:
Outer space
Subject:
Physics
Subject:
Astronomy and Cosmology
Subject:
Mathematics
Subject:
Outer space Exploration.
Subject:
Physics-Astrophysics
Copyright:
Publication Date:
March 2007
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 halftones. 39 line illus. 1 table.
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
7.5 x 5 in

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Philosophy » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Astronomy » Space Exploration
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Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General
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Science and Mathematics » Physics » General

Fly Me to the Moon: An Insider's Guide to the New Science of Space Travel Used Hardcover
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Product details 192 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691128221 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "As astrophysicist and NASA consultant Belbruno explains in this short book, one of the reasons for the exorbitant cost of space flight is the need for huge amounts of fuel. In addition to the cost of the fuel itself, is its weight: 'it is very expensive to bring one pound of anything to the Moon — about a quarter million dollars.' By solving what are known as three-body equations (the three bodies, for example, being Earth, the Moon and a spacecraft), Belbruno has discovered trajectories between celestial bodies that make use of both chaos theory and gravitational forces, and enable space travel with a fraction of the fuel normally used. The downside is the greater time needed for travel. A trip to the Moon using Belbruno's method, might take three months rather than three days. But this difference poses no trouble for sending supplies and could dramatically lower the cost of building a permanent base on the Moon. Although Belbruno's main ideas are expressed simply enough for the average reader to appreciate, his account of his efforts is disjointed and not as rewarding as the underlying science. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "As astrophysicist and NASA consultant Belbruno explains in this short book, one of the reasons for the exorbitant cost of space flight is the need for huge amounts of fuel. In addition to the cost of the fuel itself, is its weight: 'it is very expensive to bring one pound of anything to the Moon — about a quarter million dollars.' By solving what are known as three-body equations (the three bodies, for example, being Earth, the Moon and a spacecraft), Belbruno has discovered trajectories between celestial bodies that make use of both chaos theory and gravitational forces, and enable space travel with a fraction of the fuel normally used. The downside is the greater time needed for travel. A trip to the Moon using Belbruno's method, might take three months rather than three days. But this difference poses no trouble for sending supplies and could dramatically lower the cost of building a permanent base on the Moon. Although Belbruno's main ideas are expressed simply enough for the average reader to appreciate, his account of his efforts is disjointed and not as rewarding as the underlying science. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[This book] will truly excite anyone interested in the future of space travel....Grounded in real physics, Belbruno's ideas will tantalize the space audience."
"Review" by , "Almost fifty years after the beginning of space flight, Belbruno's work offers a realistic beginning for minimum-fuel and maximum-payload trajectories for interplanetary operations. It is a mark of sophistication in the evolution of space travel that simplified solutions to the vexing many-body problem are found to have practical applications. Belbruno's three-body solution for low-thrust minimum-fuel trajectories serves well not only the future of space flight but helps astronomy in understanding the sometimes erratic motions of celestial bodies."
"Review" by , "Fly Me to the Moon is a fast, easy read that explains in simple nonscientific terms very complex matters of celestial mechanics, and it is delightful reading for students and professionals to update or learn very important new background materials. It is also a must-read for the lawyer-scientist."
"Review" by , "This is an excellent book. The author succeeds in writing an exciting story about his research on low-fuel space travel, a subject that is not widely known but that will interest many readers. Moreover, the mathematical aspects of chaos in the context of space missions is well treated at the level of the nonexpert."
"Review" by , "This is a good story. It is rare to see a nonpedantic book on celestial mechanics that gives some backroom stories about trajectory geeks. Belbruno ties very abstract concepts to real problems and situations." Wendell W. Mendell, NASA Johnson Space Center, Astromaterials Research & Exploration Science Directorate
"Synopsis" by ,

"Almost fifty years after the beginning of space flight, Belbruno's work offers a realistic beginning for minimum--fuel and maximum--payload trajectories for interplanetary operations. It is a mark of sophistication in the evolution of space travel that simplified solutions to the vexing many-body problem are found to have practical applications. Belbruno's three-body solution for low-thrust minimum-fuel trajectories serves well not only the future of space flight but helps astronomy in understanding the sometimes erratic motions of celestial bodies."--Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut

"Fly Me to the Moon is a fast, easy read that explains in simple nonscientific terms very complex matters of celestial mechanics, and it is delightful reading for students and professionals to update or learn very important new background materials. It is also a must-read for the lawyer-scientist."--Ambassador Edward R. Finch, Jr.

"This is an excellent book. The author succeeds in writing an exciting story about his research on low-fuel space travel, a subject that is not widely known but that will interest many readers. Moreover, the mathematical aspects of chaos in the context of space missions is well treated at the level of the nonexpert."--Florin Diacu, University of Victoria

"This is a good story. It is rare to see a nonpedantic book on celestial mechanics that gives some backroom stories about trajectory geeks. Belbruno ties very abstract concepts to real problems and situations."--Wendell W. Mendell, NASA Johnson Space Center, Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate

"This is an excellent book. It is an inside look at the important new field of chaotic trajectories by one of the masters and originators of the field. As we continue into space, I think we will be hearing more and more about these clever trajectories. Ed Belbruno has covered in a beautiful and interesting way the important applications of chaos to astrophysics and spacecraft trajectories. He also tells a very interesting personal story of his battles to get these trajectories used, and how he was able to save the Hiten spacecraft and get it to the moon. This is a great story, and he tells it very well."--Richard Gott, Princeton University

"The author's newly discovered interplanetary highways offer a romantic reflection of the pre-rocket, pre-airplane era, where balloons would transport us, with hardly any energy of our own, from one unexplored vista to another."--From the foreword by Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History, author of Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

"Synopsis" by ,

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.

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