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.
Subjects: Physics, History of Science & Technology, General Science
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