NASA to Probe Einstein's Relativity Theory
 

By Broward Liston 

Almost a century after Albert Einstein began writing about relativity, NASA  is poised to launch a mission 45 years in the making to put a little known tenet of his general relativity theory to its first test. 

   

The Gravity Probe B satellite is the bland name given to one of the most precise scientific instruments ever built. But the project's $700 million price-tag adds glamour, as does its long history, surviving the Congressional budget ax seven times. 


Lift-off of the Boeing Co. Delta 2 rocket carrying the probe is scheduled for Monday at 1:01 p.m. EDT from the rocket range at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. 


With four near-perfect spheres -- the roundest objects ever made, according to NASA -- the probe will try to show whether the Earth, which is known to warp both time and space with its mass, also twists them like tornado winds as it rotates. 


That was Einstein's prediction in his theory of general relativity. He had already, in 1905, answered many of the most important questions about mass, energy and the speed of light with his theory of special relativity. 


INSIGHTS INTO TIME AND SPACE 


By 1915, he was applying those insights to time and space. His theories showed how massive objects -- planets, stars, black holes -- warp time and space, slowing down clocks and sucking nearby objects toward them. 


That is why an apple falls from a tree and speeding planets do not escape the sun. 


Einstein also argued that the space-time continuum was twisted and dragged by the spinning of massive objects, an effect known as 'frame dragging.' 


'We've seen two of the three aspects of warped space-time. We've seen the warping of space and the warping of time. We have never seen, in any clean way, the dragging of space into motion,' said Kip Thorne, who holds the Richard Feynman chair in theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology. Question Who's Online | Find Members | Private Messages
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498 hits Rate me! Share Favorite | Flag 15 years ago by Bon

Do you think Einstein`s Relativity Theory will be proven wrong?
NASA to Probe Einstein`s Relativity Theory

By Broward Liston

Almost a century after Albert Einstein began writing about relativity, NASA is poised to launch a mission 45 years in the making to put a little known tenet of his general relativity theory to its first test.

The Gravity Probe B satellite is the bland name given to one of the most precise scientific instruments ever built. But the project`s $700 million price-tag adds glamour, as does its long history, surviving the Congressional budget ax seven times.

Lift-off of the Boeing Co. Delta 2 rocket carrying the probe is scheduled for Monday at 1:01 p.m. EDT from the rocket range at California`s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

With four near-perfect spheres -- the roundest objects ever made, according to NASA -- the probe will try to show whether the Earth, which is known to warp both time and space with its mass, also twists them like tornado winds as it rotates.

That was Einstein`s prediction in his theory of general relativity. He had already, in 1905, answered many of the most important questions about mass, energy and the speed of light with his theory of special relativity.

INSIGHTS INTO TIME AND SPACE

By 1915, he was applying those insights to time and space. His theories showed how massive objects -- planets, stars, black holes -- warp time and space, slowing down clocks and sucking nearby objects toward them.

That is why an apple falls from a tree and speeding planets do not escape the sun.

Einstein also argued that the space-time continuum was twisted and dragged by the spinning of massive objects, an effect known as `frame dragging.`

`We`ve seen two of the three aspects of warped space-time. We`ve seen the warping of space and the warping of time. We have never seen, in any clean way, the dragging of space into motion,` said Kip Thorne, who holds the Richard Feynman chair in theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.


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15 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Monday 4/19/04 - 2:44:04 PM EST (GMT-5)
Wow... I think that's the longest "Story:" that I've ever seen on YT.
15 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Monday 4/19/04 - 4:22:27 PM EST (GMT-5)
Boy, physics people are going to be really upset if its proven to be false...

And I'll rejoice at their downfall.

15 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Monday 4/19/04 - 4:25:11 PM EST (GMT-5)
It just has a lot of spaces, it really isn't that long.


By the way the question is dedicated to 314159

15 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Tuesday 4/20/04 - 5:57:31 AM EST (GMT-5)
SHOULD I CARE HES DEAD OR IS HE ?
15 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Tuesday 4/20/04 - 5:58:58 AM EST (GMT-5)
It is constanly being proven around us everywhere. Mathematically, yes, someday.
15 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Sunday 4/25/04 - 1:24:32 AM EST (GMT-5)
No it won't be proven wrong. It's not *really* correct to talk about it being proven wrong anyway. Even as they said in the story, several aspects of general relativity have been definately observed. If this third one is not present, general relativity will be an incomplete theory, that does not fully describe our universe.

If this frame dragging *is* observed, t will still be an incomplete theory. We've known for years that general relativity only describes certain aspects of the universe, and there are a few places it doesn't apply, which is why we look for theories like loop quantum gravity, string theory, and so on, which are closer approximations to a complete theory.

And you can't prove a physical theory, in general, mathematically. At least, not in the strict sense of a mathematical proof.

15 yrs ago, 6 mos ago - Sunday 4/25/04 - 1:25:36 AM EST (GMT-5)
So it won't be proven wrong, but it may reveal further areas where the theory needs refinement. I personally think it will probably be supported, but it could absolutely go either way.
14 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Wednesday 12/8/04 - 11:37:53 AM EST (GMT-5)
I hardly think so
14 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Wednesday 12/15/04 - 8:52:01 PM EST (GMT-5)
well, it IS only a theory... so why not?
14 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Wednesday 12/15/04 - 9:54:31 PM EST (GMT-5)
*reads pi's explaination*

*brain implodes*

14 yrs ago, 9 mos ago - Saturday 2/12/05 - 4:08:07 PM EST (GMT-5)
Uh...so, it's been almost a year. What happened with this thing?
14 yrs ago, 9 mos ago - Saturday 2/12/05 - 4:29:12 PM EST (GMT-5)
The question is flawed, if referring to the included story. It's not a blanket test of Relativity, it's a specific test of one aspect.

Many other aspects have already been proven, including time dilation, and space-time warp. Relativity also accounts for orbit subtleties on our solar sytem that Newton's theories couldn't.

14 yrs ago, 8 mos ago - Thursday 2/24/05 - 1:30:39 PM EST (GMT-5)
ya never know...aristotle never thought his theories would be disproved but they were...so we'll just have to see...
14 yrs ago, 8 mos ago - Saturday 2/26/05 - 10:44:22 PM EST (GMT-5)
People will try, that is for sure.
14 yrs ago, 8 mos ago - Sunday 2/27/05 - 4:37:58 AM EST (GMT-5)
i think they will adjust it, correct some mistakes and add things that he didn't see...it has already happened with newton's laws of gravity (via einstein himself), so i'm sure that it'll happen with relativity...and we'll probably be launched into an even more frantic age of discovery than we are in right now...kinda scary, but really cool for those of us interested in physics
14 yrs ago, 8 mos ago - Sunday 2/27/05 - 4:40:12 AM EST (GMT-5)
it can't be totally 'wrong'; it predicts measurements that have been tested to dozens of decimal places.
14 yrs ago, 8 mos ago - Sunday 2/27/05 - 4:41:32 AM EST (GMT-5)
its already been adjusted by introducing quantum mechanics and creating string theory



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