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Relativity Rocket

  1. Apr 22, 2004 #1
    NASA's Gravity Probe B satellite was launched into orbit Tuesday morning to test a key prediction of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.

    Einstein's theory states that gravity is a distortion in the fabric of space caused by massive objects. Earth, like a bowling ball dropped on a rubber sheet, stretches the invisible fabric of space and causes smaller objects to move toward it.

    That portion of the theory was confirmed by Gravity Probe A, launched in 1975.

    But the theory also says that as the Earth spins on its axis, it tends to twist the fabric of space around it slightly. Gravity Probe B is designed to test that.

    The heart of the satellite is a perfectly spherical quartz sphere, about the size of a pingpong ball, that is electrostatically floated in a cryogenic chamber and spun at 10,000 revolutions per minute.

    The spinning sphere is a highly precise gyroscope, claimed to be the most accurate scientific instrument ever built. Researchers hope it will detect the twisting in the fabric of space, deflecting slightly in response to it. A Superconducting Quantum Interference Device, or SQUID, will detect any changes in the sphere's axis of rotation and send the results back to Earth.

    The bulk of the satellite is made up of coolant to maintain both the sphere at the SQUID at a temperature near absolute zero, about minus 460 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 29, 2004 #2
    Hello orion1 is there a question here or is this simply a statement?
  4. Aug 3, 2004 #3
    Terran Metric...

    What is the equasion for the 'Terra Metric' space-time?

    [tex]s^2 = ....[/tex] ???

    Can a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device, or SQUID, prove such a metric?

  5. Aug 3, 2004 #4
    when do the results come in?
  6. Aug 3, 2004 #5


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    I imagine they are using the Kerr metric for the spacetime near the turning earth. That is the solution for an axially symmetric spinning mass, and that is the one in which the frame dragging is manifested.
  7. Aug 3, 2004 #6
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2004
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