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General >> Discussion >> Ballistic capture by Jupiter?

Message started by RGClark on 08/12/15 at 06:02:08

Title: Ballistic capture by Jupiter?
Post by RGClark on 08/12/15 at 06:02:08

The discussion on the "Gravitational capture by Europa?" was occasioned by the need to perform a low cost lander mission to the moon. However, another big delta-v cost of such a mission is the Jupiter orbit insertion. Can this also be done by ballistic capture to reduce the total delta-v?
Note that it is known that it can be done at Mars:

A New Way to Reach Mars Safely, Anytime and on the Cheap.
Ballistic capture, a low-energy method that has coasted spacecraft into lunar orbit, could help humanity visit the Red Planet much more often.
By Adam Hadhazy | December 22, 2014

Belbruno worked out how to let the competing gravities of Earth, the sun and moon gently pull a spacecraft into a desired lunar orbit. All three bodies can be thought of as creating bowl-like depressions in spacetime. By lining up the trajectory of a spacecraft through those bowls, such that momentum slackens along the route, a spacecraft can just "roll" down at the end into the moon's small bowl, easing into orbit fuel-free. "It's a delicate dance," Belbruno says.
Unfortunately, pulling off a similar maneuver at Mars (or anywhere else) seemed impossible because the Red Planet's velocity is much higher than the Moon's. There appeared no way to get a spacecraft to slow down enough to glide into Mars' gravitational spacetime depression because the "bowl," not that deep to begin with, was itself a too-rapidly moving target. "I gave up on it," Belbruno says.
However, while recently consulting for the Boeing Corp., the major contractor for NASA's Space Launch System, which is intended to take humankind to Mars, Belbruno, Topputo and colleagues stumbled on an idea: Why not go with the flow near Mars? Sailing a spacecraft into an orbital path anywhere from a million to even tens of millions of kilometers ahead of the Red Planet would make it possible for Mars (and its spacetime bowl) to ease into the spacecraft's vicinity, thus subsequently letting the spacecraft be ballistically captured.

 Bob Clark

Title: Re: Ballistic capture by Jupiter?
Post by Tony on 08/12/15 at 14:17:06

You can be ballistic captured by any object provided that you enter its Hill Sphere through its L1 or L2 point at a low enough speed.

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