December 22, 2014: New Transfer to Mars

May 26, 2013: Updated Trailer for Painting the Way to the Moon.

January 2013: Documentary film maker, Jacob Okada, making documetary about life and work of Edward Belbruno.
Watch trailer. Follow the progress of the movie on Facebook: Painting the Way to the Moon.

October 22, 2012: Feature article in Time Magazine, mentioned on the cover, for a result on the Lithoanspermia Hypothesis for the origin of life

September 24, 2012: Press release from Princeton University on the paper dealing with the Origin of Life: Slow-moving rocks better odds that life crashed to Earth from space

April 9, 2009: Press release from NASA on using spacecraft to explore regions of space in support of the Origin of the Moon paper: STEREO Hunts for Remains of an Ancient Planet near Earth

April 9, 2009: Join STEREO and Explore Gravitational "Parking Lots" That May Hold Secret of Moon's Origin


Edward Belbruno received his doctorate in mathematics in 1980 from the Courant Institute of New York University. He studied under Juergen Moser.

His research interests are in celestial mechanics, dynamical systems, astrodynamics, astrophysics and cosmology.

His early work in 1986 led to a new approach to space travel by the use of chaos dynamics to obtain low energy trajectories, that require less fuel. This work was dramatically demonstrated in 1991 with the salvage of a Japanese lunar spacecraft, Hiten, successfully getting it to the Moon on a new type of transfer requiring almost no fuel. This transfer used automatic capture, where capture into orbit about the Moon is obtained without the use of rockets. The methodology he developed for this is called weak stability boundary theory.

From 2011 through 2013, he has published several papers in different areas that have gained new insights. These include:
1) New approach to understanding motion about a black hole, using a McGehee regularization transformation
2) New results on the lithopanspermia hypothesis on the origin of life, using minimal energy transfers
3) New approach to studying the big bang singularity, using regularization theory
4) New types of low energy transfers to the Moon and beyond
5) Understanding the connection of weak stability boundaries and manifolds

He is a research collaborator at the department of astrophysical science at Princeton University, director of the research company Innovative Orbital Design, and a visiting scholar at New York University, Courant Institute. He consults regularly with NASA and leading aerospace organizations. He has been interviewed on many radio and television programs, including NBC's Today Show. He has published two books with Princeton University Press, his most recent entitled, Fly me to the Moon.

Key Papers

Origin of the Moon

Where Did the Moon Come From? (2005)

Origin of Life and Material Transfer

Chaotic Exchange of Solid Material between Planetary Systems: Implications for Lithopanspermia (2012)

Structure of Weak Stability Boundaries

Geometry of Weak Stability Boundaries (2012)

Weak Stability Boundary and Invariant Manifolds (2010)

Origin of the Universe:
Going Through the Big Bang

On the regularizability of the big bang singularity (2013)

Motion About a Black Hole

A dynamical system's approach to Schwarzschild null geodesics (2011)

New Types of Low Energy Transfers to the Moon

Efficient CIS-Lunar Trajectories (2012)

First Paper Ever Published on Ballistic Capture Transfers and Weak Stability Boundaries

Lunar Capture Orbits, a Method of Constructing Earth Moon Trajectories and the Lunar Gas Mission (1987)


Fly Me to the Moon:
An insider's Guide to the New Science of Space Travel

Publication date: February 2007
Visit the book on Princeton University Press website

When a leaf falls on a windy day, it drifts and tumbles, tossed every which way on the breeze. This is chaos in action. In Fly Me to the Moon, Edward Belbruno shows how to harness the same principle for low-fuel space travel--or, as he puts it, "surfing the gravitational field."

Belbruno devised one of the most exciting concepts now being used in space flight, that of swinging through the cosmos on the subtle fluctuations of the planets' gravitational pulls. Read More...

Capture Dynamics and Chaotic Motions in Celestial Mechanics: With Applications to the Construction of Low Energy Transfers
Publication date: March 2004
Visit the book on Princeton University Press website

This book describes a revolutionary new approach to determining low energy routes for spacecraft and comets by exploiting regions in space where motion is very sensitive (or chaotic). It also represents an ideal introductory text to celestial mechanics, dynamical systems, and dynamical astronomy. Bringing together wide-ranging research by others with his own original work, much of it new or previously unpublished, Edward Belbruno argues that regions supporting chaotic motions, termed weak stability boundaries, can be estimated. Read More...


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Dr. Edward Belbruno

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