Letters of Intent for 2014

LoI 2014-163
Celestial Mechanics and Solar System Exploration - New Developments and the Legacy of G. Colombo


16 June 2014 to 19 June 2014


Padua, Italy


Stefano Casotto (stefano.casotto@unipd.it)

Coordinating division:

Division A Fundamental Astronomy

Co-Chairs of SOC:

Cesare Barbieri (University of Padua)
Stefano Casotto (University of Padua)
Carl D. Murray (Queen Mary, University of London)

Co-Chairs of LOC:

Stefano Casotto (University of Padua)
Gianandrea Bianchini (University of Padua)



- Rotational Motion of Planets, Satellites and Minor Bodies - The Cassini states
- Periodic Orbits, Resonances and Evolution in the Solar System
- Flybys and Exploration Mission Planning
- Space Flight and Tether Dynamics
- Satellite and Lunar Laser Ranging
- Perturbation Theories
- Planetary Rings Dynamics
- Extra-solar planetary dynamics



Celestial Mechanics is deeply rooted in our understanding of the Solar System, its present structure, its origin, its evolution. The diversity of the constituent bodies is also amazing and provides ample matter for fostering Celestial Mechanics to attack such divers problems as the formation and stability of the rings or the large population of moons around gaseous planets, or optimal transfer orbits from one planet to another. The evolution of the Solar System through resonant states and migration are concepts now well investigated for application to exoplanetary systems, which will also be in the program. Practical applications of Celestial Mechanics for space navigation, space geodesy and transportation systems including tethered satellites will also be covered.

The Symposium will also recall the outstanding contributions to Celestial Mechanics of Giuseppe Colombo, given that the year 2014 will mark the 30th anniversary of his untimely death. To many of such topics the late Prof. Giuseppe Colombo (1920-1984) brought stimulating original ideas, which are now put to their full exploitation in space missions like the NASA Messenger and the ESA BepiColombo missions to Mercury and the ESA cometary mission Rosetta, a successor of Giotto. Giuseppe (Bepi) Colombo was one of the leading figures in the early years of the space age. He put special emphasis on the exploitation of the dynamical phenomena for application to the exploration of the Solar System. His major contributions were the identification of the 2:3 spin-orbit resonance of Mercury and its particular Cassini state, the use of flybys, or scattering phenomena, to exploit the energy exchange between a spacecraft and a planet to make low-energy travel possible to the internal and external boundaries of the Solar System, and the invention of the tethered satellite concept for diverse applications ranging from upper atmosphere sounding to fuel-less spacecraft maneuvering. Colombo's legacy will figure among many of the topics of the Symposium. Results will be presented, among others, from the ongoing Messenger mission to Mercury, the Venus flyby, the planning aspects, both scientific and technological, of the future exploration of Mercury by ESA's BepiColombo mission.

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