Thu, Apr 7, 2011
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Pioneer anomaly solved
SYDNEY: It’s not dark matter, multiple universes or weird gravity: the strange deceleration of the Pioneer spacecraft is just waste heat – the trouble is nobody’s looked at it the right way, Portuguese researchers report.

Known as the ‘Pioneer anomaly’, the unexplained deceleration of NASA’s two Pioneer spacecraft, Pioneer 10 and 11 (launched in 1972 and 1973 respectively) has provoked some exotic theories, including errors in Einstein’s theory of gravity or the presence of multiple universes.

More mundane theories including reflection of light from the Sun, or thermal emissions from the spacecraft itself couldn’t explain the small discrepancy in the spacecrafts’ speed, a tiny drop of less than 0.000000001 metres per second.

Now astrophysicist Frederico Francisco from the Institute for Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion in Lisbon, Portugal, and colleagues said they have the answer. 

Thu, Apr 7, 2011  Permanent link

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