Arnold's mechanism of diffusion in the spatial circular restricted three-body problem: A semi-analytical argument
Rights accessOpen Access
We consider the spatial circular restricted three-body problem, on the motion of an infinitesimal body under the gravity of Sun and Earth. This can be described by a 3-degree of freedom Hamiltonian system. We fix an energy level close to that of the collinear libration point L1, located between Sun and Earth. Near L1 there exists a normally hyperbolic invariant manifold, diffeomorphic to a 3-sphere. For an orbit confined to this 3-sphere, the amplitude of the motion relative to the ecliptic (the plane of the orbits of Sun and Earth) can vary only slightly. We show that we can obtain new orbits whose amplitude of motion relative to the ecliptic changes significantly, by following orbits of the flow restricted to the 3-sphere alternatively with homoclinic orbits that turn around the Earth. We provide an abstract theorem for the existence of such ‘diffusing’ orbits, and numerical evidence that the premises of the theorem are satisfied in the three-body problem considered here. We provide an explicit construction of diffusing orbits. The geometric mechanism underlying this construction is reminiscent of the Arnold diffusion problem for Hamiltonian systems. Our argument, however, does not involve transition chains of tori as in the classical example of Arnold. We exploit mostly the ‘outer dynamics’ along homoclinic orbits, and use very little information on the ‘inner dynamics’ restricted to the 3-sphere. As a possible application to astrodynamics, diffusing orbits as above can be used to design low cost maneuvers to change the inclination of an orbit of a satellite near L1 from a nearly-planar orbit to a tilted orbit with respect to the ecliptic. We explore different energy levels, and estimate the largest orbital inclination that can be achieved through our construction.
CitationDelshams, A., Gidea, Marian, Roldán, P. Arnold's mechanism of diffusion in the spatial circular restricted three-body problem: A semi-analytical argument. "Physica. D, Nonlinear phenomena", 1 Novembre 2016, vol. 334, p. 29-48.