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Mysterious forces tug at the Pioneer probes.

Discussion in 'Physical & Life Sciences' started by Mustaphile, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. Mustaphile

    Mustaphile Be the change you wish to see in the world.

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  2. Amalthea

    Amalthea Well-Known Member

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    I'll bet you it's outgassing from the probes.
     
  3. Suffolk Sean

    Suffolk Sean Irish and proud of it!!!! <img src="http://www3.c

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    Out gassing at this stage? I would think any outgassing would have long ago ceased.
     
  4. Aeschylus

    Aeschylus Well-Known Member

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    It's old news, but nobody's managed to explain it yet, but then again it may well just be a systematic error.
     
  5. FromTheAshes

    FromTheAshes Guest

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    My bet would be on particle accumulation. If they're picking up particles in their travels then their mass would be higher then our equations say it ought to be (we don't have statistics on particle density in the outer planetary systems). It's possible our understanding of gravity is fundimentally flawed, and Einstein screwed up as badly as Newton. That would make Quantum Physicists very very happy.
     
  6. Amalthea

    Amalthea Well-Known Member

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    I'll provide a link later when I find it, I forgot the authors name but there was an important paper on this last year by a guy who was a big proponent of an exotic explanation. He now rejects this and favours the outgassing if I remember correctly.
     
  7. FromTheAshes

    FromTheAshes Guest

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    Meh, outgassing would make a lot of sense if it's one probe, but for two probes (and I'm pretty sure they're both six-sigma precision) to fail the same way? Nah. Not unless there was something major overlooked. On the other hand the space equivelent of air resistance - constant impact with "space dust" would perfectly explain why they're slowing down the same amount. It might be that we've misestimated the density of space dust. It's not much of an effect, but over 30 years? It could make quite a difference.
     
  8. Ataradrac

    Ataradrac Now with 50% less irony!

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    It's Planet X!! It's Planet X!!! *dons tinfoil hat*
     
  9. Amalthea

    Amalthea Well-Known Member

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  10. FromTheAshes

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    So an asymmetry in waste heat is all it takes? And an asymmetry of 3% no less? I wonder how many good explainations we can come up with without suggesting the laws of physics are busted?

    P.S. WHY do the theoreticals jump the gun? Sometimes things not working right is just that - they're not working right. Doesn't imply the laws of physics screwed up ;)
     
  11. Amalthea

    Amalthea Well-Known Member

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    Hey I'm a theorist and I always look hard, very hard, for existing physics. Otherwise you end up being a "cold fusion" nutcase.

    Actually it isn't all that bad for people to look for the exotic as long as others search out the mundane. Plus of course, if you show it's heat loss then you don't get anything more than a published paper that is soon forgotten since it quickly loses relevance whereas new physics and Nobel here I come.
     
  12. FromTheAshes

    FromTheAshes Guest

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    That's unfair. Their original letter simply said that they'd found an energy increase when running a certain current through water a certain way, which, to paraphrase them, means jack, cause it's an exothermic process anyway. If we want to blame the right idiots we have to look at capitol hill.
    You see this is where your world and an engineer's differs. If we find some flaw in our calculations of forces we have to reconceptualize our models completely, then redo every simulation that ran with those models. It's a class A migraine. For you it's "quickly forgotten."
     
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