Pioneer Anomaly

It’s been reported for year (yea, unto decades) that the Pioneer spacecraft (launched outward from the solar system in the early 1970s) are not exactly where physics tells us they should be. Speculation has it that this is evidence of a mysterious, ‘new’ force of nature or possibly evidence that Newton and Einstein were wrong about gravity (close, but ultimately wrong).

But maybe <a href=”http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn12070-exotic-cause-of-pioneer-anomaly-in-doubt.html
“>that’s not so. Kjell Tangen, a physicist at the firm DNV in Hovik, Norway:

suggests conventional physics – such as drag due to dust grains in space, or the emission of heat from small nuclear generators on board, known as RTGs, in some directions more than others – probably causes the anomaly[.]

For my money, what’s amazing is that these ancient spacecraft are still providing us an opportunity to do science.

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