More Free Energy
Around every celestial body orbiting a star or a planet, there are certain points at which the two gravitational fields create a balance between the two. At these points, other masses, such as asteroids, often congregate because the gravitational fields are evenly balanced. An example are the Trojan asteroids in Jupiter’s orbit.
These points are called LaGrange points after French mathmetician Joseph LaGrange, who discovered them. There are five such points in any two body system, but they are more distinct when one body is much more massive than the other. In the Earth/Sun system—and other planets—there are five LaGrange points, designated L1,L2…L5. As you can see from the illustration, L1 and L2 are close to the Earth, or the less massive body. L3 is on the opposite side of the orbit. L4 and L5 are at 60 degree angles to the more massive body, in the orbit of the smaller body. These are the Trojan points.
Because the LaGrange points are points where the gravitational fields of the two bodies are exactly balanced, a third body at one of these points, particularly L1 or L2, is precariously balanced. It is as if you tried to balance a ball on the tip of a pyramid. You might get it to stay, but the slightest nudge will cause it to fall off. So, too, a spacecraft at L1 or L2. With just the least bit of push towards one of the two bodies, it will move toward that body and begin to pick up speed. In the 1960s, mathematicians Charles Conley and Richard McGhehee developed the concept that this phenomenon could be used to propel a spacecraft away from Earth with very little or NO energy expenditure. Further work showed that this capability could connect LaGrange points throughout the Solar System if the proper trajectory and timing were chosen.
In other words, using the LaGrange phenomenon, spacecraft could fly from Earth to say Jupiter with much less energy expenditure than even with Hohmann transfers and gravity assists. This method of spaceflight became known as the Interplanetary Transportation Network (ITN) or the Interplanetary Superhighway. In the illustration, the ‘highways’ are depicted as tubes, because the math treats them as such. The green ribbon represents just one path among many contained within the bonding tube.
And, this isn’t just theory. It has been used for several space missions, including NASA’s Genesis, which is collecting solar wind particles. Japan used the ITN for their moon probe.
But, there is a down side to the ITN. It saves propellant, but it is even slower than Hohmann trajectories and gravity assist routes. Cassini took five years to reach Saturn with its convoluted journey. Using the ITN would take decades.