Black Swans and Attitude Control
Black swans are dynamic response phenomena that occur rarely but have significant, perhaps catastrophic, consequences. Nassim Nicholas Taleb has popularized black swans in his recent books on investment bubbles, but they can occur in many nonlinear dynamic systems, especially those that incorporate human behavior. The existence of black swans in a dynamic system illustrates the limits of prediction of such models. After a brief review of this background, a survey will be given that describes recent rigid body attitude dynamics and control results; the existence of black swans in spacecraft pointing missions will be described. Finally, it will be asserted that black swans can occur in many nonlinear control systems, suggesting important new areas of research.