Our aim is to unfold phase space structures underlying systems with a drift in their parameters. Such systems are non-autonomous and belong to the class of non-periodically driven systems where the traditional theory of chaos (based e.g., on periodic orbits) does not hold. We demonstrate that even such systems possess an underlying topological horseshoe-like structure at least for a finite period of time. This result is based on a specifically developed method which allows to compute the corresponding time-dependent stable and unstable foliations. These structures can be made visible by prescribing a certain type of history for an ensemble of trajectories in phase space and by analyzing the trajectories fulfilling this constraint. The process can be considered as a leaking in history space—a generalization of traditional leaking, a method that has become widespread in traditional chaotic systems, to leaks depending on time.
Note that this only holds for the stable foliation and for dynamics started at the same time. The unstable foliation is strongly time-dependent (see Sec. VI).