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Mystery Tug on Spacecraft Is Einstein’s ‘I Told You So’
NY Times ^ | July 23, 2012 | DENNIS OVERBYE

Posted on 07/24/2012 3:42:38 AM PDT by neverdem

It’s been a bad year to bet against Albert Einstein.

In the spring physicists had to withdraw a sensational report that the subatomic particles known as neutrinos were going faster than light, Einstein’s cosmic speed limit; they discovered they had plugged in a cable wrong.

Now scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have reported that they have explained one of the great mysteries of the space age, one that loomed for 30 years as a threat to the credibility of Einsteinian gravity.

The story starts with the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes, which went past Jupiter and Saturn in the late 1970s and now are on their way out of the solar system. In the 1980s it became apparent that a mysterious force was slowing them down a little more than should have been expected from gravity of the Sun and planets..

Was there an unknown planet or asteroid out there tugging on the spacecraft? Was it drag from interplanetary gas or dust? Something weird about the spacecraft? Or was something wrong in our calculation of gravity out there in the dark?

That last explanation would have been big news indeed. Much of what we know about the universe — for example, the existence of dark matter, which seems to swaddle and shape the galaxies, and of dark energy, which seems to be speeding up the expansion of the universe — comes from presuming that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which describes gravity as the warping of space-time geometry — is correct over cosmic distances.

General relativity has passed every test on Earth. Without correcting for it, GPS systems would not work. But some theorists have suggested that if gravity behaved differently over large distances from what Einstein thought, it would relieve astronomers of the embarrassing need to posit...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Technical; Testing
KEYWORDS: einstein; physics

1 posted on 07/24/2012 3:42:50 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

The Higgs bosons are getting tired.


2 posted on 07/24/2012 3:46:28 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: neverdem

Turns out to be the pressure of infrared light emitted from the forward facing heat sinks of the equipment on board.


3 posted on 07/24/2012 3:49:56 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Support for the Thermal Origin of the Pioneer Anomaly
4 posted on 07/24/2012 4:37:46 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
"The Higgs bosons are getting tired."

Nah! They just had an obstruction in the matter/anti-matter conduit between the dilithium crystals and the warp core.
5 posted on 07/24/2012 4:51:09 AM PDT by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: shibumi

Frickin tribbles. They’re like squirrels in a power station.


6 posted on 07/24/2012 5:03:49 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge)
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To: neverdem

bflr


7 posted on 07/24/2012 5:46:47 AM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: neverdem

This simply confirms that education does not trump absolute genius. In this day and age, it is surprising how the know it alls... do not. Science gets less credible every day.


8 posted on 07/24/2012 6:29:24 AM PDT by momincombatboots (Back to West by G-d Virginia. 2016 starts today! Walker, Issa, Rubio,)
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To: neverdem

http://paulocoelhoblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/einstein.jpg


9 posted on 07/24/2012 6:35:33 AM PDT by ltc8k6
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To: momincombatboots
Science gets less credible every day.

This is REALLY your take on this story? So what besides "science" would have figured this out?

10 posted on 07/24/2012 6:41:10 AM PDT by Strategerist
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To: Strategerist

No, my take is this... REALLY! It would be logical to conclude that after billions of taxpayer dollars and untold years of cumulative education and extremely advanced equipment, we would have been able to go beyond simply disproving Einstein. In fact, it would be logical to assume science would have evolved dramatically, in this area. In fact, it has simply proven otherwise. Education does not trump genius. REALLY.


11 posted on 07/24/2012 6:49:20 AM PDT by momincombatboots (Back to West by G-d Virginia. 2016 starts today! Walker, Issa, Rubio,)
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To: momincombatboots

1) The purpose of the Pioneer mission wasn’t to disprove Einstein, it was to explore Jupiter and Saturn, which it did spectacularly well.

2) The effort of this scientist to go over the old Pioneer data didn’t cost “billions.”

3) If you had the slightest comprehension of science, you’d understand a big part of it is doing experiments to continuously confirm previous observations and theories. Newton turned out to be slightly wrong after hundreds and hundreds of years.

4) Here’s the EDUCATION of the guy that solved this puzzle:

Slava G. Turyshev
Education

Doctor Habilitatus, Astronomy, Astrophysics & Gravitational Physics, Moscow State University, Russia (2008)
MBA, The Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA (2003)
Ph.D., Astrophysics & Theoretical Gravity Physics, Moscow State University, Russia (1990)
M.S. Quantum Field Theory & High Energy Physics (with honors), Moscow State University, Russia (1987)


12 posted on 07/24/2012 6:59:58 AM PDT by Strategerist
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To: neverdem
If you drive at night, Dr. Turyshev explained, “your high beams would emit photons and it would push you back.”

I think he may want to reword that sentence a bit.

13 posted on 07/24/2012 7:00:23 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: Right Wing Assault

All Dr. Turyshev had to do was talk to the guy that was driving a Porshe, IIRC, at high speeds without headlights on the NJ Parkway at night on his trips to and from Atlantic City.


14 posted on 07/24/2012 7:08:27 AM PDT by meatloaf (Support Senate S 1863 & House Bill 1380 to eliminate oil slavery.)
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To: momincombatboots

A couple of other observations:

1) Einstein had an undergraduate degree from ETH Zurich, and a PhD from the University of Zurich.

2) If this analysis HAD proven Einstein wrong, I have little doubt you would have posted “Science worshipped Einstein like a God for a century and he was wrong! Science gets less credible by the day.”

So, what’s your reason for an irrational hatred of science and scientists? Think infrared radiation back-pressure is adequately covered in Genesis or something?


15 posted on 07/24/2012 7:16:39 AM PDT by Strategerist
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To: Strategerist

Why the personal attack?


16 posted on 07/24/2012 7:19:10 AM PDT by momincombatboots (Back to West by G-d Virginia. 2016 starts today! Walker, Issa, Rubio,)
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To: neverdem

The entire physical universe is an illusion. Don’t worry about it.


17 posted on 07/24/2012 7:26:12 AM PDT by mosaicwolf (Strength and Honor)
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To: Strategerist; momincombatboots
I believe that she is saying that all the "scientists” besides the one who solved the problem were just being like the climate folks and saying it must be this or that. Instead of using science to actually analyze and solve the problem they would just make up theories and leave it at that.

I could be wrong but I think that was the gist of the comments.

18 posted on 07/24/2012 7:32:25 AM PDT by Ratman83
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To: neverdem
Irrelevant academic sophistry!

All observable realities depend on the arbitrary emotions of Haruhi Suzumiya...

...jeez.

19 posted on 07/24/2012 7:41:24 AM PDT by Happy Rain ("Obamacare like all Marxist fails, outlaws redress before creating it's demand.")
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To: Ratman83

Thanks for the clarification. I am saying roughly that, yes. A personal attack is a weapon of last resort. I am a big- time science freak.. the complexity of the various branches leave me awed. However, my point really is this.. What is the point of investing so much money and time into discrediting Einstein? I could understand the attempt to decode the universe to improve daily lives and the defense thereof. The simple desire to disprove the existence of God is getting a little old. I tell my own children to remember the story of the Garden of Eden, two trees were there. Trust in God or Trust in man’s pursuit of knowledge. Your choice.


20 posted on 07/24/2012 7:42:28 AM PDT by momincombatboots (Back to West by G-d Virginia. 2016 starts today! Walker, Issa, Rubio,)
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To: momincombatboots
However, my point really is this.. What is the point of investing so much money and time into discrediting Einstein?

Not sure if it's really the scientists that seem to want to do this (discredit Einstein), or those in the media, looking for a big story. A little like taking down Nixon, during Watergate.

What did Albert know, and when did he know it?

21 posted on 07/24/2012 7:50:29 AM PDT by Lou L (Health "insurance" is NOT the same as health "care")
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To: momincombatboots

You didn’t like the answer?

Science is not an attempt to disprove God. Science is an attempt by the most successful religion in the history of the universe to understand God’s creation.

Christianity is the rational religion and is responsible for creating all of the current scientific disciplines.

What an odd point of view for you to take.


22 posted on 07/24/2012 7:58:47 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: shibumi

Could very well be spatial anomalies. I would check the Trellium D cladding and confirm it is in multimode at 125mm. Biggest mistake is going single mode.

Screws up the core.


23 posted on 07/24/2012 8:05:24 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (ABO 2012)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

My point of view has always been odd. Not unusual for me to think outside of the “consensus” or the “collective”. Just the way I am wired.


24 posted on 07/24/2012 8:13:18 AM PDT by momincombatboots (Back to West by G-d Virginia. 2016 starts today! Walker, Issa, Rubio,)
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To: neverdem

Reminds me of one of my favorite Steven Wright jokes: “If you’re driving your car at the speed of light and you turn on your headlights, what happens?”

Apparently, you slow down.


25 posted on 07/24/2012 8:18:43 AM PDT by Stosh
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To: shibumi
" Nah! They just had an obstruction in the matter/anti-matter conduit between the dilithium crystals and the warp core."

Maybe if they tried Inverse Polarity ! (that seems to fix everything)

26 posted on 07/24/2012 8:26:46 AM PDT by Mr. K ("The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum [of good]")
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To: All
The "Great Scientific Debate" between the Left and Right is that conservatives embrace the macro experiments that work while the Left takes hold of the micro experiments that "apparently" work.

Individual liberty, personal responsibility and faith in a Divine supreme being works fabulously in mundane day to day society while unpredictable results-determined subatomic activities allow—as per Schrodinger--the first man observing the wave collapse to arbitrarily determine the properties of the latest reality—these observers of course, belong to the atheist ranks demanded by Leftist academia since Niels Bohr successfully banished Einstein's, Newton's, Galileo's, Copernicus's etc etc God from Physics...the "scientific" passing of the torch, as it were, to Freud, Darwin and Marx, of "empirically proved" moral relativism which falsely and evilly established the "justness" of politically imposed Leftist infallibility...as such currently the so-called "God Particle" is desperately to be discovered and disingenuously dissected so as to ideologically and politically reduce the term to simple, "particle.""

27 posted on 07/24/2012 8:31:29 AM PDT by Happy Rain ("Obamacare like all Marxist fails, outlaws redress before creating it's demand.")
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To: momincombatboots

The beginning of knowledge is to admit you know noting...........


28 posted on 07/24/2012 8:34:26 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Stosh

Certainly if you have the technology for a light speed automobile you will have the technology for tachyon headlights—the question is would they illuminate where you are going or where you have been?


29 posted on 07/24/2012 8:36:43 AM PDT by Happy Rain ("Obamacare like all Marxist fails, outlaws redress before creating it's demand.")
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To: Right Wing Assault

So, next time I’m stuck in the mud all I have to do is turn on my headlights...............and wait a million years........I’m gonna need a bigger battery...........


30 posted on 07/24/2012 8:44:06 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Strategerist
you gave a nice explanation in your post until you said "3) If you had the slightest comprehension of science, you’d understand..."

No need to insult people you are responding to.

31 posted on 07/24/2012 9:10:10 AM PDT by Mr. K ("The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum [of good]")
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To: HiTech RedNeck

wow- they canb detext pressure that small? (or the change from it?)

That’s pretty amazing

It also means it will eventuall slow the craft down and stop it.

Does anyone know what the lifetime of the power supply is?


32 posted on 07/24/2012 9:14:42 AM PDT by Mr. K ("The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum [of good]")
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To: Red Badger

No truer statement, in my humble opinion.


33 posted on 07/24/2012 9:42:43 AM PDT by momincombatboots (Back to West by G-d Virginia. 2016 starts today! Walker, Issa, Rubio,)
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To: neverdem
This source presents the same information without linking to the NY Times, a vile propogandist intent on the destruction of America. Notice how easy it is to write for the Times, you just plug a little witless banter into someone else's press release.

Study Finds Heat is Source of 'Pioneer Anomaly'
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
July 17, 2012

The unexpected slowing of NASA's Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft - the so-called "Pioneer Anomaly" - turns out to be due to the slight, but detectable effect of heat pushing back on the spacecraft, according to a recent paper. The heat emanates from electrical current flowing through instruments and the thermoelectric power supply. The results were published on June 12 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

"The effect is something like when you're driving a car and the photons from your headlights are pushing you backward," said Slava Turyshev, the paper's lead author at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "It is very subtle."

Launched in 1972 and 1973 respectively, Pioneer 10 and 11 are on an outward trajectory from our sun. In the early 1980s, navigators saw a deceleration on the two spacecraft, in the direction back toward the sun, as the spacecraft were approaching Saturn. They dismissed it as the effect of dribbles of leftover propellant still in the fuel lines after controllers had cut off the propellant.

But by 1998, as the spacecraft kept traveling on their journey and were over 8 billion miles (13 billion kilometers) away from the sun, a group of scientists led by John Anderson of JPL realized there was an actual deceleration of about 300 inches per day squared (0.9 nanometers per second squared). They raised the possibility that this could be some new type of physics that contradicted Einstein's general theory of relativity.

In 2004, Turyshev decided to start gathering records stored all over the country and analyze the data to see if he could definitively figure out the source of the deceleration. In part, he and colleagues were contemplating a deep space physics mission to investigate the anomaly, and he wanted to be sure there was one before asking NASA for a spacecraft.

He and colleagues went searching for Doppler data, the pattern of data communicated back to Earth from the spacecraft, and telemetry data, the housekeeping data sent back from the spacecraft. At the time these two Pioneers were launched, data were still being stored on punch cards. But Turyshev and colleagues were able to copy digitized files from the computer of JPL navigators who have helped steer the Pioneer spacecraft since the 1970s.

They also found over a dozen of boxes of magnetic tapes stored under a staircase at JPL and received files from the National Space Science Data Center at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and worked with NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., to save some of their boxes of magnetic optical tapes.

He collected more than 43 gigabytes of data, which may not seem like a lot now, but is quite a lot of data for the 1970s. He also managed to save a vintage tape machine that was about to be discarded, so he could play the magnetic tapes.

The effort was a labor of love for Turyshev and others. The Planetary Society sent out appeals to its members to help fund the data recovery effort. NASA later also provided funding. In the process, a programmer in Canada, Viktor Toth, heard about the effort and contacted Turyshev. He helped Turyshev create a program that could read the telemetry tapes and clean up the old data.

They saw that what was happening to Pioneer wasn't happening to other spacecraft, mostly because of the way the spacecraft were built. For example, the Voyager spacecraft are less sensitive to the effect seen on Pioneer, because its thrusters align it along three axes, whereas the Pioneer spacecraft rely on spinning to stay stable.

With all the data newly available, Turyshev and colleagues were able to calculate the heat put out by the electrical subsystems and the decay of plutonium in the Pioneer power sources, which matched the anomalous acceleration seen on both Pioneers.

"The story is finding its conclusion because it turns out that standard physics prevail," Turyshev said. "While of course it would've been exciting to discover a new kind of physics, we did solve a mystery."

Pioneer 10 and 11 were managed by NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Pioneer 10's last signal was received on Earth in January 2003. Pioneer 11's last signal was received in November 1995. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

34 posted on 07/24/2012 11:23:43 AM PDT by concentric circles
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To: Mr. K

Maybe at the time scales involved, the power module (nuclear, which was assisted by photocells when the craft was near the sun, but no more) will have long petered out before directional emission of infrared photons could significantly slow the craft let alone stop it.

I’m cudgeling my brain without success to remember the name of the little physics toy that had an assembly of two to four vanes, painted white on one side and black on the other, mounted to pivot in a nearly evacuated glass bulb. Sunlight would make the vane assembly turn as the black side of the vanes became warmer than the white side. And yet it wasn’t light pressure that achieved this, but differential between how the residual gas in the bulb was warmed and set in motion at the surfaces of the vanes.


35 posted on 07/24/2012 11:32:29 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: Red Badger

Well you do have to know enough to understand that gaining more knowledge is helpful and important.


36 posted on 07/24/2012 11:34:48 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: Red Badger

Or if you have to make a sudden stop, just put the lights on.


37 posted on 07/24/2012 11:35:22 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: Red Badger
The beginning of knowledge is to admit you know noting...........

You mean writing music, or making little self-memos so you don't forget things? I'm going with the latter, because it helps me retain what little knowledge I have.

38 posted on 07/24/2012 11:52:10 AM PDT by tnlibertarian (Government's solution to everything: Less freedom.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
I’m cudgeling my brain without success to remember the name of the little physics toy that had an assembly of two to four vanes, painted white on one side and black on the other,

That's a Radiometer.

39 posted on 07/24/2012 11:57:15 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: tnlibertarian

Maybe I need Cliff’s Notes for Dummies...........


40 posted on 07/24/2012 12:34:46 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: tnlibertarian

Oops!.....forgot the pic!............

41 posted on 07/24/2012 12:36:49 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: concentric circles
This source presents the same information without linking to the NY Times, a vile propogandist intent on the destruction of America.

Without the Times' Science Tuesday section, I would not have found the story.

42 posted on 07/24/2012 4:08:34 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: shibumi; HiTech RedNeck
They just had an obstruction in the matter/anti-matter conduit between the dilithium crystals and the warp core.

Nope, that's just what was in the official Starfleet reports. The truth is there's a massive destructive force headed for earth and we have to go back in time to save the whales.

43 posted on 07/24/2012 4:17:41 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: momincombatboots

Well at least you enjoy using your computer and being on the internet. ;)


44 posted on 07/24/2012 6:59:17 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: HiTech RedNeck; Mr. K
And yet it wasn’t light pressure that achieved this, but differential between how the residual gas in the bulb was warmed and set in motion at the surfaces of the vanes.

Or... the white surface reflected 'light', and the black surface absorbed light. In a sense, repulsion and attraction. The gas near the white surface would tend to expand due to the additional 'reflected heat', adding 'repulsion' to the mix.

Maybe it's a combination of things, instead of one thing.

45 posted on 07/24/2012 7:00:26 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: HiTech RedNeck; neverdem
Turns out to be the pressure of infrared light emitted from the forward facing heat sinks of the equipment on board.

Sounds just as reasonable as...

Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

46 posted on 07/24/2012 7:03:47 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: HiTech RedNeck; neverdem
Oops, I forgot.

Please look right here.


47 posted on 07/24/2012 7:06:03 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: ArrogantBustard; HiTech RedNeck; Mr. K

A radiometer is a device for measuring the radiant flux (power) of electromagnetic radiation. Generally, the term radiometer denotes an infrared radiation detector, yet it also includes detectors operating on any electromagnetic wavelength.

A common example is the Crookes radiometer, an early-model device wherein a rotor (having vanes which are dark on one side, and light on the other) in a partial vacuum spins when exposed to light. A common myth (one originally held even by Crookes) is that the momentum of the absorbed light on the black faces makes the radiometer operate. If this were true however, the radiometer would spin away from the non-black faces, since the photons bouncing off those faces impart even more momentum than the photons absorbed on the black faces. Follow the link below for an in-depth explanation of the principles behind a Crookes radiometer.

The Nichols radiometer operates on a different principle and is more sensitive than the Crookes type.

A microwave radiometer operates in the microwave wavelengths. The radiometer contains argon gas to enable it to rotate.

The MEMS radiometer, invented by Patrick Jankowiak, can operate on the principles of Nichols or Crooke and can operate over a wide spectrum of wavelength and particle energy levels.

Source: Wikipedia

(I learn something new every day.)

48 posted on 07/24/2012 7:12:10 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: neverdem
These are links to the signup pages for science newsletters delivered to your inbox via email. I read the L.A. Times but I try to avoid posting from them by doing an online search for other sources for the same story. The mainstream news outlets profit from visits to their web pages and though I may choose to subscribe I don't need to direct others to their pages.

Popular Science Newsletter

ScienceDaily Email Newsletters

Scientific American free Newsletters

Science Oxford Online email newsletter

49 posted on 07/24/2012 7:37:49 PM PDT by concentric circles
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To: UCANSEE2

All I can say is the scientists did the math and it made sense once they did. The effect is extremely tiny of course compared with the craft’s rapid velocity. They are talking about a few hundred feet lagged during a period when the craft went millions of miles into space.


50 posted on 07/24/2012 8:18:21 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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