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Gravity Probe B: final results
Muhlfelder, Barry W. H. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, California.
- Experimental design
- Three perturbing effects
- Final results
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Gravity Probe B (GP-B), launched on April 20, 2004, was a space-based, cryogenic physics experiment testing two predictions of Albert Einstein's geometric theory of gravity, general relativity. In 1960, Leonard I. Schiff showed that an ideal gyroscope in orbit about the Earth would undergo two very slow general relativistic spin-axis precessions: (1) a geodetic drift in the orbit plane, caused by the massive Earth distorting space-time, and (2) a frame-dragging drift, caused by the rotation of the Earth dragging space-time. By contrast, the spin-axis orientation of an ideal gyroscope in a Newtonian universe would not drift, but rather, would remain fixed. The GP-B experiment was designed to measure gyroscope drift and to isolate it from the effect of imperfections in the implementation of the sensors.
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