Space Travel:

Mathematics Uncovers an Interplanetary Superhighway

People Involved

Dr. Shane Ross

Assistant Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Tech

Shane D. Ross is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics. Although he found math difficult until his early twenties when it finally "clicked", he's had an interest in space missions and astronomy since childhood. In 2004, Ross earned a Caltech Ph.D. in control and dynamical systems, a broad mathematical field which allows him to study a wide variety of problems in the engineering and natural sciences. It's at Caltech that Ross learned that geometry is a deep subject about much more than just triangles and circles.

Ross is the author of several publications in the areas of mechanics and nonlinear dynamics, related to areas such as spacecraft control, bio-locomotion, transport and mixing in fluids, and chemical physics. He's received several certificates of recognition from NASA, and has coauthored a book on Dynamical Systems, the Three-Body Problem, and Space Mission Design. His work has been featured in Science, New Scientist, and American Scientist.

He lives with his wife, son, and small dog in the lush mountains of Virginia. He enjoys hiking, stargazing, reading about philosophy and religion, and listening to U2. He owns a Mac of course and tries to recycle.