Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Spanish scientists participate in development of a new model to explain movements of the moon

18.12.2008
Two researchers from the universities of Valladolid and Alicante are developing a mathematical formula to study the rotation of the moon, taking into account its structure, which comprises a solid external layer and a fluid internal core.

Their work is part of an international study, which has come up with an improved theoretical model about the orbital and rotational dynamics of the Earth and its satellite, and which the scientific community will be able to use to obtain more precise measurements in order to aid future NASA missions to the moon.

Juan J. A. Getino, from the Applied Mathematics Department of the University of Valladolid, and Alberto Escapa, from the Applied Mathematics Department of the Higher Polytechnic School of the University of Alicante, suggest in their work that the Earth and the moon should be considered as “multi-layered” systems. In order to analyse their movements, the researchers have used Hamiltonian mechanics, a kind of classical mechanics used, among other things, to study the movements of heavenly bodies in response to gravitational effects.

“The Earth can be viewed as a three-layered system, with a solid exterior mantle, a fluid intermediary layer and a solid interior nucleus,” Getino tells SINC. The researcher points out that the new proposition applies multi-layer theories to the study of the rotation and movements of the moon, as well as its interaction with the Earth.

“The end objective of this multidisciplinary study is to develop a more complete model of the movements of the moon, to make it possible to correctly interpret the increasingly precise data we have about the distance between it and the Earth,” says Alberto Escapa.

Although based in classic mechanics, the contributions of the Spanish scientists to this study of the rotational and orbital dynamics of the moon are part of a more ambitious project based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In fact, the study, published recently in the journal Advances in Space Research, is being led by the relativist astronomer Sergei M. Kopeikin, from the University of Missouri, United States, and also involves the participation of other researchers from the United States, Germany, Russia and China.

Escapa points out that their proposition involves “extrapolating to the moon a mathematical model that we had previously developed in order to explain the small changes within the Earth’s rotational axis”. This model helped to improve GPS navigation systems, and in 2003 led to Getino and Escapa, along with other scientists, being awarded the European Union’s Descartes Prize for Research.

Using a laser to measure the distance between the Earth and the moon

Today, the latest improvements in laser measuring system technology (Lunar Laser Ranging) enable precise measurement of the distance between the Earth and its satellite down to almost a millimetre. Work in this area started with the Apollo era programmes more than 35 years ago, when the first corner-cube reflectors (CCR) started to be installed on the lunar surface. These devices reflect rays of light emitted by various terrestrial stations, making it possible to measure the distance between the Earth and the moon.

The measurements provided by LLR are “crucial”, according to the study, both in terms of moving forward in understanding the fundamental laws of gravitational physics, but also in improving understanding of the moon’s internal structure, as well as to help in the planning of future robotic and manned missions to the moon. The relativist theoretical model, complemented by the work of the Spanish scientists, could help to bring about progress in these fields.

NASA is weighing up the possibility of incorporating the results of this modelling into its GEODYN programme, a piece of software developed in order to analyse the orbits of satellites and estimate geodesic parameters to help improve space ship navigation, and to be able to land precisely on any part of the moon.

SINC Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cells adapt ultra-rapidly to zero gravity

28.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

An Atom Trap for Water Dating

28.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>