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The Unfinished Quest to Solve the Pioneer Anomaly (unknown gravitational effect)
The Planetary Society ^ | 11 May 05 | John D. Anderson, Philip A. Laing, Eunice L. Lau, Michael Martin Nieto, and Slava G. Turyshev

Posted on 05/11/2005 6:33:22 AM PDT by Arkie2

It began with the search for Planet X. By 1979, Pioneer 10 had accomplished its original mission to become the first Earth-born spacecraft to explore Jupiter and was on its way out of our solar system, flying toward the star Aldebaran — a destination it should reach some two million years from now.

On its way out, Pioneer 10 became a useful partner in an experiment of celestial mechanics. By closely monitoring its trajectory, scientists might detect an unexpected gravitational tug that could betray the existence of the long-hypothesized Planet X. Based largely on unexplained motions in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune, several 20th-century astronomers had suggested the existence of an undiscovered world at the edge of our solar system.

John D. Anderson, a veteran JPL scientist, took on the task of studying the Pioneer 10 and 11 radio signal data for any sign of Planet X. His search had come up empty. For this reason, among others, John and his team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory became convinced that the chance of discovering a 10th planet was slim, as they reported in the May/June 1999 issue of The Planetary Report. But in early 1980, John and his team began to see signs of something else—something quite unexpected. While searching for Planet X, we noticed that the tracking data did not quite fit with the existing solar system model. They showed an anomalous acceleration—in this case, an acceleration backward. It did not match any expected Planet X force, and we couldn’t immediately explain it. When theoretical models do not fit experimental data, standard scientific practice is to find a reason for the mismatch. Therefore, we embarked on a program to study the anomalous acceleration.

We studied the spacecraft themselves, looking for some systematic explanation connected to the hardware. After all systematics were accounted for, the tracking data still showed an anomalous acceleration toward the Sun even while the Pioneers are traveling out of the solar system. This result has ramifications to fields as diverse as theoretical physics and deep-space navigation. To account for this Pioneer anomaly, we may be forced to resort to what some are calling a “new physics.”

The Spacecraft On March 2, 1972, Pioneer 10 was launched on an Atlas/Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral. Pioneer 10 was Earth’s first space probe to an outer planet, encountering Jupiter on December 4, 1973. Pioneer 11 followed its sister ship to Jupiter, and continued on to encounter Saturn on September 1, 1979.


TOPICS: Technical; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: gravity; heliopause; physics; pioneer; pioneeranomaly; space
This is a long read but if you're a space nerd it's very interesting. I decided not to post the entire article so you'll have to check the link if you want to read the whole thing.
1 posted on 05/11/2005 6:33:23 AM PDT by Arkie2
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To: KevinDavis

ping


2 posted on 05/11/2005 6:33:57 AM PDT by Arkie2 (No, I never voted for Bill Clinton.)
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Bump for later reading


3 posted on 05/11/2005 6:34:59 AM PDT by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: Arkie2

whatever happenned to the new planet, selena, or something like that?


4 posted on 05/11/2005 6:36:35 AM PDT by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it full of something for you.)
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To: Arkie2

Gaseous anomolies in the neutral zone?........


5 posted on 05/11/2005 6:44:32 AM PDT by Red Badger (Remember, Jimmy Carter can still run for another term as President..........)
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To: Arkie2

interesting read... thanks!


6 posted on 05/11/2005 6:44:42 AM PDT by mwyounce
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To: Arkie2

Bump


7 posted on 05/11/2005 6:46:23 AM PDT by Nowhere Man (Lutheran, Conservative, Neo-Victorian/Edwardian, Michael Savage in '08! - Any Questions?)
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To: Arkie2

I remember when the shuttle disintegrated and the techies kept saying the guages went "off scale low".

Now they say "unexplained acceleration backward".

So is it too far away or too close?


8 posted on 05/11/2005 6:52:05 AM PDT by djf
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To: Arkie2
OK, I missed something. Or is this just the way scientics speak?

If an object, travling out of the solar system displays "an anomalous acceleration toward the Sun" does it really mean it's unexpectedly SLOWING?

Also, would not the unexplained motions in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune coupled with this slowing provide three points of reference?

If a single phenomona could explain all three that might just be considered a clue...

9 posted on 05/11/2005 6:56:42 AM PDT by kAcknor (That's my version of it anyway....)
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To: kAcknor

"If an object, travling out of the solar system displays "an anomalous acceleration toward the Sun" does it really mean it's unexpectedly SLOWING?"

That was my read, too.

I blame Xenu and his invading force of aliens in DC-10s.


10 posted on 05/11/2005 7:09:30 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan
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To: Arkie2

Bump for later.


11 posted on 05/11/2005 7:12:10 AM PDT by laishly
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To: Arkie2

its them lousy reptilians AGAIN!!


12 posted on 05/11/2005 7:16:52 AM PDT by martin gibson
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To: Arkie2

I'm not surprised there's an anomaly, considering nobody's figured gravity out yet.


13 posted on 05/11/2005 7:26:15 AM PDT by Flightdeck
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To: camle
whatever happenned to the new planet, selena, or something like that?

That's what I want to know, too. It was named "Sedna". Don't they consider the 10th planet now or is that just a maybe planet? They also found another object beyond Pluto that is about half the size of Pluto and named it "Quaoar". Either of these planet X candidates?
14 posted on 05/11/2005 7:29:58 AM PDT by KillTime (Western Civilization herself breathes a sigh of relief as President Bush wins 4 more years.)
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To: MeanWestTexan
I blame Xenu and his invading force of aliens in DC-10s

I heard there was fierce competition between Airbus and Boeing for that account... ;)

15 posted on 05/11/2005 7:31:34 AM PDT by kAcknor (That's my version of it anyway....)
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To: KillTime

are you sure it ain't "Quagaar"?


16 posted on 05/11/2005 7:33:22 AM PDT by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it full of something for you.)
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To: Arkie2
Interesting article. I particularly enjoyed the exposition of the way the astrophysicists are handling the data (ie. asking the questions as to whether either this anomaly violates any OTHER accepted pardigms or can be explained by them) rather than invoking some really far-out explanation that violates every presently known paradigm in many far-flung fields of inquiry.

Very instructive as to how scientists work.

See The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Kuhn.

17 posted on 05/11/2005 7:36:09 AM PDT by DoctorMichael (The Fourth Estate is a Fifth Column!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Arkie2

We live inside a large refelective sphere. Everything you see is a reflection and it is impossible to get out of the sphere. [sillyness off]


18 posted on 05/11/2005 7:53:59 AM PDT by CPOSharky (You are born cold, wet, and hungry. Things get worse, then you die.)
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To: CPOSharky

I think you're right. Our universe is just a mirror ball in a birdbath in the garden of some superior being.


19 posted on 05/11/2005 9:15:35 AM PDT by Erasmus (When it rattles by my window, the Chicago "L" annoys.)
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To: Erasmus
I think you're right. Our universe is just a mirror ball in a birdbath in the garden of some superior being. No we're just guinea pigs on the treadmill of the Intelligent Designer. And remember, gravity is just a theory!
20 posted on 05/11/2005 9:18:11 AM PDT by blowfish
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To: DoctorMichael

I hope you didn't miss the part where they are about to lose critical data because NASA is going to scrap the only computer that can translate the early data. This article is actually a request for assistance (monetary) in translating that data into a newer format so that it can be saved and analyzed.


21 posted on 05/11/2005 9:31:47 AM PDT by Arkie2 (No, I never voted for Bill Clinton.)
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To: Arkie2

bttt


22 posted on 05/11/2005 6:18:07 PM PDT by clyde asbury (Everything's gonna be all right because you're the lucky one.)
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To: Arkie2

I think you found the key point to the article.


23 posted on 05/11/2005 6:47:53 PM PDT by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: Arkie2

Instead of a planet causing the unknown gravitational anomaly on our solar system, could it be the gravitational pull of the black hole in the Milky Way?


24 posted on 02/06/2012 12:00:05 PM PST by TeegeWill
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