Using Math to Tour the Solar System

How can NASA stretch its fuel dollars for future missions to Jupiter and Saturn and their potentially habitable moons? By using mathematical concepts that have been around for centuries, School of Mathematics Professor Rafael de la Llave crunches the numbers for the space agency as it looks to save money during its next phase of exploration.

De la Llave's efforts are the focus of ScienceMatters Season 3 Episode 4.

De la Llave is using a 2018 NASA grant to study how to use mathematics to save the space agency fuel costs for future tours of the solar system. His tools include mathematical concepts and theories like Hamiltonian systems, Lagrange mechanics, and Arnold diffusions. Fortunately for NASA, De la Llave is fluent in this kind of math talk. 

Each ScienceMatters episode includes a quiz that refers to facts mentioned in each podcast. A winner will be chosen randomly from all who submit correct answers. Winners will receive special College of Sciences gifts.

The Episode 4 quiz question:

What mathematical concept does Rafael de la Llave illustrate with the help of 15 ball bearings?

The winner will be announced in the following week.

Submit your answer here:

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