Kepler's laws of planetary motion turn out to be far from the last word on planetary orbits. Orbits change over time, some changes are slow and periodic, others are chaotic and dramatic; these determine the architecture of planetary systems. In orbital dynamics research, we seek to discover the past and future of planetary systems - the diverse effects of gravity that shape where and how planets form and how their orbits evolve in time. We study the orbital evolution of planetary and satellite systems, and small bodies (asteroids and comets), as well as interplanetary dust, in the solar system and in exo-planetary systems. We seek discovery and understanding of the dynamical transport processes of planetary materials across vast distances in space and over geologically long times. We study how Earth's habitability is affected by its orbital history, and how orbital dynamics shapes extra-terrestrial environments.
Robert G. Strom, Renu Malhotra, Zhiyong Xiao, Takashi Ito, Fumi Yoshida, and Lillian R. Ostrach, The inner solar system cratering record and the evolution of impactor populations, Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics, in press (2014). Preprint
Petrovich, C., Malhotra, R., Tremaine, S., Planets Near Mean-Motion Resonances, ApJ, 770, 24 (2013). Preprint
Malhotra, R., Orbital resonances in planetary systems. To appear in volume 6.119.55 CELESTIAL MECHANICS of the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems by UNESCO. Preprint (Sep 2012)
Belbruno, E., A. Moro-Martin, R. Malhotra, D. Savransky, Chaotic Exchange of Solid Material between Planetary Systems: Implications for Lithopanspermia, Astrobiology, doi:10.1089/ast.2012.0825 (2012). Preprint