Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

To my understanding, the idea behind the interplanetary transport network is that areas near heavy objects and their Lagrange points are accesible with comparatively little energy, for example one could more easily leave low earth orbit via one of the Earth-Moon Lagrange points.

I'm looking for a feeling about what "little energy" and "long travel times" might mean quantitatively.

Now, I understand there'll be no map of the then possible, ever shifting paths around the solar system - but is there some list of sample missions? (Is that the term?)

The papers I skimmed seemd to be very daunting on the math front. Are there easy rules to guesstimate the $\Delta V$ requirements if a probe hops from e.g. from low Earth orbit to L1 to away from the earth-moon system? With what velocity?

p.s. Support Space Exploration SE!

share|cite|improve this question
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Something like this, along with the associated article on Wikipedia, might help:

enter image description here

And if you "learn by doing" and are willing to have a bit of fun while you develop a sense of the "map" there's a boardgame (of all things) that treats this topic fairly accurately (at least if what you're looking for is some intuition about how the $\Delta\text{V}$ map feels in the context of space travel):

enter image description here

And NASA provides a "trajectory browser" that provides some of the same information which, though not in "map" form, is customizable to just about any "route" you can imagine.

And for fun, there's always this:

enter image description here

share|cite|improve this answer
Your picture with delta-V is not about low-energy transfer, but about classic Hohmann transfer orbits with some additional classic orbital maneuvers. Low-energy transfer is about using unstable chaotic trajectories near Lagrange points. The only needed classical stage is to move to LEO and then to fly near some L1 or L2 point of the local system at the chosen moment of time. – osgx Mar 12 '14 at 18:02

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.