Topic: NASA’s Pioneer 10 Spacecraft
Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA – The unexpected slowing of NASA’s Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft – the so-called “Pioneer Anomaly” – turns out to be due to the slight, but detectable effect of heat pushing back on the spacecraft, according to a recent paper.
The heat emanates from electrical current flowing through instruments and the thermoelectric power supply. The results were published on June 12th in the journal Physical Review Letters.
“The effect is something like when you’re driving a car and the photons from your headlights are pushing you backward,” said Slava Turyshev, the paper’s lead author at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. “It is very subtle.”
An artist’s view of a Pioneer spacecraft heading into interstellar space. Both Pioneer 10 and 11 are on trajectories that will eventually take them out of our solar system. (Image credit: NASA)
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