Newton, Einstein… Lost in Space?

…or do they just need to add Townsend Brown to their equations:

Beyond the edge of the solar system, something has gradually dragged two of America’s oldest space probes — Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 — a quarter-million miles off course. Astrophysicists have struggled 15 years in vain to identify the infinitesimal force at play. The Pioneer anomaly, as it is called, throws a monkey wrench into celestial mechanics.

The anomaly officially materialized in 1988, 16 years
after NASA launched Pioneer 10 toward the outer planets. The 568-pound
spacecraft had been designed to stay in radio contact with Earth just
21 months, time enough for it to become the first spacecraft to pass
through the asteroid belt, the first to fly past Jupiter and the first
to visit the outer solar system. The plutonium-powered probe, however,
transmitted data 31 years until 2003.

As it sped through space, a specialist in radio-wave
physics named John Anderson at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory noticed
an odd thing. The spacecraft was drifting off course. The discrepancy
was less than a few hundred-millionths of an inch per second for every
second of spaceflight, accumulating year after year across billions of
miles. Then Pioneer 11, an identical probe escaping the solar system in
the opposite direction, also started to veer off course at the same
rate.

I thought they solved this one a while back…. something to do with the Biefeld-Brown effect working through the spacecrafts’ solar panels. Anybody remember when that came up a while back?

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One Response to Newton, Einstein… Lost in Space?

  1. Gewis says:

    Neither of the Pioneer or Voyager craft have solar panels. They use radioisotope thermal electric generators. There are a lot of ideas and “explanations” to account for the slight accelerative anomaly, but no final word on it yet.

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