Space Travel: Pioneer Anomaly Solved?

Space Travel: Pioneer Anomaly Solved?

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The 100 Year Spaceship Symposium, an international event advocating human expansion into other star systems, has some crucial hurdles to overcome. Basically, interstellar travel will depend upon extremely precise measurements of every factor involved in the mission, which isn’t possible yet. But a University of Missouri researcher thinks he has found the solution to a puzzle that has stumped astrophysicists for decades.

The Pioneer spacecraft, two probes launched into space in the 1970s, seemed to violate the Newtonian law of gravity by decelerating anomalously as they traveled, but there was nothing in physics to explain why this happened. Sergei Kopeikin, professor of physics and astronomy, says he has a theoretical explanation: “My study suggests that this so-called Pioneer anomaly was not anything strange. The confusion can be explained by the effect of the expansion of the universe on the movement of photons that make up light and radio waves.”

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