Science-- there's something for everyone

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just for fun: Crazy Libration Orbits

NASA has successfully sent a satellite (
ARTEMIS-P1) into an 'Earth-Moon libration orbit'. This means that the satellite does not orbit either Earth or the moon, but instead orbits two of the five Earth-moon Lagrangian points (regions of space where a satellite can remain stationary with respect to two large bodies). Needless to say, this 'orbit' requires close monitoring and maintenance from the ground.

Illustrations of Artemis-P1 libration orbits.
Credit: NASA/Goddard.