Research ArticleASTRONOMY

The arches of chaos in the Solar System

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Science Advances  25 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 48, eabd1313
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd1313

Abstract

Space manifolds act as the boundaries of dynamical channels enabling fast transportation into the inner- and outermost reaches of the Solar System. Besides being an important element in spacecraft navigation and mission design, these manifolds can also explain the apparent erratic nature of comets and their eventual demise. Here, we reveal a notable and hitherto undetected ornamental structure of manifolds, connected in a series of arches that spread from the asteroid belt to Uranus and beyond. The strongest manifolds are found to be linked to Jupiter and have a profound control on small bodies over a wide and previously unconsidered range of three-body energies. Orbits on these manifolds encounter Jupiter on rapid time scales, where they can be transformed into collisional or escaping trajectories, reaching Neptune’s distance in a mere decade. All planets generate similar manifolds that permeate the Solar System, allowing fast transport throughout, a true celestial autobahn.

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