By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications Commission on Physical Sciences, Board on Physics and Astronomy, Physics Survey Committee, Cosmology, and Cosmic-Ray Physics Panel on Gravitation

ISBN-10: 0309035791

ISBN-13: 9780309035798

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Additional info for Gravitation, Cosmology, and Cosmic-Ray Physics (Physics Through the 1990s: A Series)

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More recently a 50-fold improvement in this test was realized by using the Viking Lander spacecraft on the surface of Mars. The round-trip travel times of radio signals were measured with uncertainty as small as 10 ns, about 10` 11 of the total travel time. The measurements were then fit to an elaborate range model including many solar-system parameters, the relativistic delay, and positions for the spacecraft and tracking stations. 2. The final uncertainty in measuring the relativistic delay arises from possible systematic errors and parameter correlations in the model fitting.

Measurements of the dynamics of the solar system, made with modern instrumentation, will be an extremely valuable legacy to leave to future generations of scientists, who will combine their data with those obtained in the present era and reap more sensitive tests of the fundamental theories of gravitation. The history of gravitation physics provides a shining example of the importance of such legacies. The observational work of Tycho Brahe, its use by Kepler, and the work of many generations of observational astronomers enabled Leverrier in the mid-nineteenth century to detect the anomalous advance in the perihelion of Mercury's orbit, later to become general relativity's first successful test.

3 shows a smaller version of the interferometer that could fit fully assembled with a supporting spacecraft into the Shuttle bay. This instrument would have 25-cm mirrors separated by 2 m. For a pair of 10th-magnitude stars, it would measure the separation with a statistical uncertainty of 5 µarcsec after a 15-min observation. Although possibly falling short of the accuracy needed for a second-order test, this interferometer would allow at least a 2-order-of-magnitude improvement to be made in the accuracy of the solar light-deflection experiment.

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Gravitation, Cosmology, and Cosmic-Ray Physics (Physics Through the 1990s: A Series) by National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications Commission on Physical Sciences, Board on Physics and Astronomy, Physics Survey Committee, Cosmology, and Cosmic-Ray Physics Panel on Gravitation


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