Mar 20, 2008
The Pioneer Anomaly
Scientists have found a small
but significant deceleration in the Pioneer spacecraft as it
makes its way through interstellar space. What could be
slowing it down?
For the last three years, NASA analysts
have reported a slow but steady "tug" on the Pioneer 10
and 11 spacecraft as they head outward in opposite
directions from the sun. Based on the gravity-only model of
the universe under which observational research is
constrained, the research team has no explanation for what
has been termed the "Pioneer Anomaly."
Pioneer 10 was
launched from Cape Canaveral on March 2, 1972 on a
primary flyby mission to Jupiter. It was the first
spacecraft to reach Jupiter and return
close up images of the giant planet. Its last signal was
received on January 23, 2003 when it was almost 8 billion
miles from Earth. Until the faster moving
Voyager 1 space probe overtook it, Pioneer 10 was the
most remote object man-made object in space.
Pioneer 11 was
launched April 5, 1973, on a similar mission, except that it
was sent in the opposite direction to the sun's motion
through the galaxy. Unlike Pioneer 10, which moved into a
trajectory taking it upward and out of the plane of the
ecliptic, Pioneer 11 headed for
Saturn and the more remote regions of the solar system,
passing within 21,000 kilometers of Saturn's cloud tops. On
November 30, 1995, Pioneer 11 reached the end of its power
supply and was silenced forever.
The effect that
concerns NASA scientists is the distance calculations for
both probes. Each appears to be off course by several
hundred thousand kilometers and no one can quite figure out
why. Suggestions for the cause of the observed deceleration
have been illuminating:
is acting like a friction medium, creating drag.
Multi-dimensional space is acting on the probes in ways
that are not understood.
not behaving as theory suggests it should behave.
is being observed in its anti-gravitational activity.
hypothesis called, "quantum
kinetics" theorizes that sub-atomic forces are
acting on the probes in unexpected and undetectable
In a previous
Picture of the Day article about WMAP and the cosmic
microwave background, we wrote that the "hole in space"
astronomers have detected is nothing more than an illusion
resulting from theories that advocate a big bang cosmology.
In the case of the Pioneer anomaly, a similar intellectual
blindness is overwhelming the ability for conventional
observers to see what is actually happening. As the litany
of "possibilities" grows more esoteric, they move ever more
distant from the truth of the matter: electric currents in
methodology is used in the Pioneer 10 observations. Every so
often, microwave signals are beamed at the spacecraft in
order to time the return signal. The distance the probe has
traveled can be determined through time-speed-distance
calculations. The discrepancy amounts to a tiny but
According to our current 'understanding' of gravity, over
the last 34 years both Pioneer 10 and 11 should have
traveled more that 400,000 kilometers further than they have
actually flown. As NASA investigator Slava Turyshev states:
"This inability to explain the anomalous acceleration of the
Pioneer spacecraft with conventional physics has contributed
to the growing discussion about its origin."
However, as long
ago as March 20, 2002,
author and speaker
Wal Thornhill wrote:
"After launch, a
spacecraft accepts electrons from the surrounding space
plasma until the craft's voltage is sufficient to repel
further electrons. Near Earth it is known that a spacecraft
may attain a negative potential of several tens of thousands
of volts relative to its surroundings. So, in interplanetary
space, the spacecraft becomes a charged object moving in the
Sun's weak electric field. Being negatively charged, it will
experience an infinitesimal "tug" toward the positively
charged Sun. Of most significance is the fact that the
voltage gradient, that is the electric field, throughout
interplanetary space remains constant. In other words, the
retarding force on the spacecraft will not diminish with
distance from the Sun. This effect distinguishes the
electrical model from all others because all known force
laws diminish with distance. The effect is real and it will
have a fundamental impact on cosmology and spacecraft
navigation because Pioneer 10 has confirmed the electrical
model of Stars!"
By Stephen Smith
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