Fly Me to L 1

Dr. Robert J. Harley harley at
Sat Dec 6 14:03:16 PST 2003

>A much more practical destination than the moon or the space station is a
>region of space called L 1, which is more than two-thirds of the way to the
>moon and is where the gravity fields between the Earth and Moon are in

In balance?  If they canceled, then an objet there could obviously not
stay in orbit.  Rather the first Lagrange point is where the Moon's
gravity cancels just enough of the Earth's gravity so that the object
can stay in orbit with the same period as the Moon even though it is

>Setting up a space port there would offer a highly stable platform
>Thus L 1 would be the most sensible position for a base that would
>function as a test area and way-point for robotic flights as well as a
>support station and safe haven for human exploration of the solar system.

If the objet moves slightly closer to Earth (or Moon), gravity will
pull it all the way in.  This can be fixed by burning fuel but it
would be better to use some other Lagrange point that is stable.


More information about the FoRK mailing list