Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Pioneer anomaly: new stories

The Pioneer anomaly seems to have new siblings:
SPACE.COM, USA TODAY (the same text)
For five out of six space probes in a certain ensemble that are influenced by the gravity of Earth, a new anomaly could be confirmed. The measured deviation of the velocity from the expected value seems to be two orders of magnitude greater than the available accuracy of the measurement.

The sixth probe, Messenger, exhibits no observable anomaly but it could be just because of a rather accurate symmetry of this probe's trajectory with respect to the Earth's equator assuming that the anomaly has something to do with the Earth's rotation. Nevertheless, it looks strange and a reader who is really competent should do a proper calculation taking all possibly relevant effects of general relativity into account.

Thanks to Gene Day!