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The number of known celestial objects has dramatically increased and the long-awaited presence of extrasolar planets has now been detected around other stars. Spaceflight dynamics has brought new applications encompassing rocked dynamics, the place-in-orbit of artificial satellites and interplanetary mission design. Solar System exploration has grown as a long term strategy for the construction of a permanent base on the Moon and a manned mission to Mars.
The aim of the book is to demonstrate to a wider audience, as well as to a more skilled audience, the many fascinating aspects of modern celestial mechanics. After giving the reader the technical tools needed for a basic understanding of the underlying physical phenomena (using only elementary mathematics), facts and figures are provided on historical events, modern discoveries and future applications.
Contents are divided into major topics where the three "souls" of modern celestial mechanics (dynamical systems, Solar System and stellar systems, spaceflight dynamics) play a major role.
Around and around.- Three bodies and no solution.- Celestial waltz.- Cosmic spinning tops.- Our chaotic Solar System.- Singularities, collisions and threatening bodies.- Of Moon and man.- Rock around the planets.- Lords of the rings.- At the edge of the Solar System.- On the road to exolife.