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Mish mash => Open Forum => Topic started by: Conrad on May 17, 2011, 09:10:18 am

Title: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Conrad on May 17, 2011, 09:10:18 am
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/04may_epic/ (http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/04may_epic/)

Einstein was right again. There is a space-time vortex around Earth, and its shape precisely matches the predictions of Einstein's theory of gravity.

Researchers confirmed these points at a press conference today at NASA headquarters where they announced the long-awaited results of Gravity Probe B (GP-B).

"The space-time around Earth appears to be distorted just as general relativity predicts," says Stanford University physicist Francis Everitt, principal investigator of the Gravity Probe B mission.

(http://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2011/05/04/twist_strip.jpg/image_full)
An artist's concept of GP-B measuring the curved spacetime around Earth.

"This is an epic result," adds Clifford Will of Washington University in St. Louis. An expert in Einstein's theories, Will chairs an independent panel of the National Research Council set up by NASA in 1998 to monitor and review the results of Gravity Probe B. "One day," he predicts, "this will be written up in textbooks as one of the classic experiments in the history of physics."

Time and space, according to Einstein's theories of relativity, are woven together, forming a four-dimensional fabric called "space-time." The mass of Earth dimples this fabric, much like a heavy person sitting in the middle of a trampoline. Gravity, says Einstein, is simply the motion of objects following the curvaceous lines of the dimple.

If Earth were stationary, that would be the end of the story. But Earth is not stationary. Our planet spins, and the spin should twist the dimple, slightly, pulling it around into a 4-dimensional swirl. This is what GP-B went to space in 2004 to check.

The idea behind the experiment is simple:

Put a spinning gyroscope into orbit around the Earth, with the spin axis pointed toward some distant star as a fixed reference point. Free from external forces, the gyroscope's axis should continue pointing at the star--forever. But if space is twisted, the direction of the gyroscope's axis should drift over time. By noting this change in direction relative to the star, the twists of space-time could be measured.

In practice, the experiment is tremendously difficult.

(http://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2011/05/04/gyro_med.jpg)
One of the super-spherical gyroscopes of Gravity Probe B.

The four gyroscopes in GP-B are the most perfect spheres ever made by humans. These ping pong-sized balls of fused quartz and silicon are 1.5 inches across and never vary from a perfect sphere by more than 40 atomic layers. If the gyroscopes weren't so spherical, their spin axes would wobble even without the effects of relativity.

According to calculations, the twisted space-time around Earth should cause the axes of the gyros to drift merely 0.041 arcseconds over a year. An arcsecond is 1/3600th of a degree. To measure this angle reasonably well, GP-B needed a fantastic precision of 0.0005 arcseconds. It's like measuring the thickness of a sheet of paper held edge-on 100 miles away.

"GP-B researchers had to invent whole new technologies to make this possible," notes Will.

They developed a "drag free" satellite that could brush against the outer layers of Earth's atmosphere without disturbing the gyros. They figured out how to keep Earth's magnetic field from penetrating the spacecraft. And they created a device to measure the spin of a gyro--without touching the gyro. More information about these technologies may be found in the Science@NASA story "A Pocket of Near-Perfection."

Pulling off the experiment was an exceptional challenge. But after a year of data-taking and nearly five years of analysis, the GP-B scientists appear to have done it.

"We measured a geodetic precession of 6.600 plus or minus 0.017 arcseconds and a frame dragging effect of 0.039 plus or minus 0.007 arcseconds," says Everitt.

For readers who are not experts in relativity: Geodetic precession is the amount of wobble caused by the static mass of the Earth (the dimple in spacetime) and the frame dragging effect is the amount of wobble caused by the spin of the Earth (the twist in spacetime). Both values are in precise accord with Einstein's predictions.

"In the opinion of the committee that I chair, this effort was truly heroic. We were just blown away," says Will.

The results of Gravity Probe B give physicists renewed confidence that the strange predictions of Einstein's theory are indeed correct, and that these predictions may be applied elsewhere. The type of spacetime vortex that exists around Earth is duplicated and magnified elsewhere in the cosmos--around massive neutron stars, black holes, and active galactic nuclei.

"If you tried to spin a gyroscope in the severely twisted space-time around a black hole," says Will, "it wouldn't just gently precess by a fraction of a degree. It would wobble crazily and possibly even flip over."

In binary black hole systems--that is, where one black hole orbits another black hole--the black holes themselves are spinning and thus behave like gyroscopes. Imagine a system of orbiting, spinning, wobbling, flipping black holes! That's the sort of thing general relativity predicts and which GP-B tells us can really be true.

The scientific legacy of GP-B isn't limited to general relativity. The project also touched the lives of hundreds of young scientists:

"Because it was based at a university many students were able to work on the project," says Everitt. "More than 86 PhD theses at Stanford plus 14 more at other Universities were granted to students working on GP-B. Several hundred undergraduates and 55 high-school students also participated, including astronaut Sally Ride and eventual Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell."

NASA funding for Gravity Probe B began in the fall of 1963. That means Everitt and some colleagues have been planning, promoting, building, operating, and analyzing data from the experiment for more than 47 years—truly, an epic effort.

What's next?

Everitt recalls some advice given to him by his thesis advisor and Nobel Laureate Patrick M.S. Blackett: "If you can't think of what physics to do next, invent some new technology, and it will lead to new physics."

"Well," says Everitt, "we invented 13 new technologies for Gravity Probe B. Who knows where they will take us?"

This epic might just be getting started, after all….
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Rhino on May 17, 2011, 09:20:37 am
Cool stuff! Thanks for posting!
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: George in N Az on May 17, 2011, 09:37:41 am
lets get some of thse silicon quartz round thingies and make em smaller and use em as ball bearings right here. Build a nice race for em and with the right lubricant say MOBIL 1 or lack there of, we will have a wheel that will spin for a long time. It won't be frictionless due to the earths gravity, but it would be cool. Ceramic bearing on roids and perfectly round.

Less friction - better gas mileage.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: lt1 on May 17, 2011, 11:21:23 am
Wonderful use of tax dollars.  Not.  It would be a great use of private funds, though.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Conrad on May 17, 2011, 11:24:02 am
Wonderful use of tax dollars.  Not.  It would be a great use of private funds, though.

I'll see that your objections are passed along.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Cold Streak on May 17, 2011, 12:23:13 pm
Fantastic technology but we've got KIPASS!   ;)
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Rhino on May 17, 2011, 01:20:30 pm
Maybe NASA did develop KIPASS and it uses this technology to warp the space time continuum. Yea that's it! That's the ticket!
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Conrad on May 17, 2011, 01:34:45 pm
Maybe NASA did develop KIPASS and it uses this technology to warp the space time continuum. Yea that's it! That's the ticket!


There you go! It's a little more difficult to change the batteries in NASA's KIPASS fob though. Lot's of training involved.

(http://amazingdata.com/mediadata8/Image/amazing_fun_science_technology_2009072911581969.jpg)
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: CigarSki® on May 17, 2011, 02:16:03 pm
This might just explain global warming...err...climate change.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: JetJock on May 17, 2011, 02:42:58 pm
Wonderful use of tax dollars.  Not.  It would be a great use of private funds, though.

Actually, it IS.

Most of the advances in science and ultimately products we use every day, begin with pure research of this type. Will it have some eventual payoff for you? Perhaps not, but it builds on a body of other research that does move our understanding of the world --- and how to manipulate it to our advantage, and perhaps ultimately keep mankind in existence --- another few steps ahead.

Those of you who bitch about this probably had ancestors complaining about that new-fangled thing called fire that the scientists (wizards or medicine men) of the time were trying to perfect so you could have cooked food and warmth.

This is how society advances. This is what civilization requires.

Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Tactical_Mik on May 17, 2011, 02:45:15 pm
Proving the theory will only cease objections and could lead to technological advancements.  I think it's cool.  Just the spheres at 40 atomic layers variance is a feat.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: VirginiaJim on May 17, 2011, 03:19:59 pm
Actually, it IS.

Most of the advances in science and ultimately products we use every day, begin with pure research of this type. Will it have some eventual payoff for you? Perhaps not, but it builds on a body of other research that does move our understanding of the world --- and how to manipulate it to our advantage, and perhaps ultimately keep mankind in existence --- another few steps ahead.

Those of you who bitch about this probably had ancestors complaining about that new-fangled thing called fire that the scientists (wizards or medicine men) of the time were trying to perfect so you could have cooked food and warmth.

This is how society advances. This is what civilization requires.

Let's try to keep this discussion civil please without referring to whose ancestors did what....   Thanks.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Two Skies on May 17, 2011, 03:48:18 pm
Let's try to keep this discussion civil please without referring to whose ancestors did what....   Thanks.


My ancestors made bigger fires than your ancestors!

http://www.google.com/search?q=viking+pillaging&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1065&bih=636 (http://www.google.com/search?q=viking+pillaging&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1065&bih=636)

Sorry, couldn't resist!
 ;D
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Rhino on May 17, 2011, 03:52:19 pm
I wonder is some of the shuttle launch delays were due to KIPASS failure and they didn't have a rock. ;D
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: VirginiaJim on May 17, 2011, 03:57:02 pm
I think it was a touch more than that..
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: B.D.F. on May 17, 2011, 04:04:43 pm
That wasn't what happened at all.

At first they thought they had a dead battery but the real cause was the mission commander had the fob in his left pressure suit pocket but the RoPass (Rocket Pass) ECU was on the right side of the cockpit. After tinkering around a while, including beating the nosecone with a rock, they discovered the error and moved the fob. It was human error.... yet again.

Brian


I wonder is some of the shuttle launch delays were due to KIPASS failure and they didn't have a rock. ;D
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: ManWorkinghere on May 17, 2011, 04:39:10 pm
There you go! It's a little more difficult to change the batteries in NASA's KIPASS fob though. Lot's of training involved.

([url]http://amazingdata.com/mediadata8/Image/amazing_fun_science_technology_2009072911581969.jpg[/url])


And you have to find a big swimming pool just to hold the FOB ...
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: CigarSki® on May 17, 2011, 05:09:37 pm
I think it was a touch more than that..
Probably had some TPMS battery issues, also.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: T Cro ® on May 17, 2011, 06:41:27 pm
Actually, it IS.

Most of the advances in science and ultimately products we use every day, begin with pure research of this type. Will it have some eventual payoff for you? Perhaps not, but it builds on a body of other research that does move our understanding of the world --- and how to manipulate it to our advantage, and perhaps ultimately keep mankind in existence --- another few steps ahead.

Those of you who bitch about this probably had ancestors complaining about that new-fangled thing called fire that the scientists (wizards or medicine men) of the time were trying to perfect so you could have cooked food and warmth.

This is how society advances. This is what civilization requires.

Kidney Punch.... 5 Point Penalty....
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Mr. Green Genes on May 17, 2011, 08:27:19 pm
And all this time I thought the space-time vortex revolved around Me.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Rick Hall on May 17, 2011, 09:10:14 pm
Kidney Punch.... 5 Point Penalty....

I'll see if I can find a mod for that, BRB...

Rick
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Two Skies on May 17, 2011, 10:01:10 pm
So, if I'm understanding this correctly, scientists have, after years of extensive study, have figured out that

THIS PLANET SUCKS!  ::)

Again, couldn't resist.  Me and my bad puns!

Seriously, though, it's always good to see further evidence of a theory being on the right track.  I find it pleasantly interesting that a patent clerk's insights into mathematics have time and again met the rigorous scrutiny of his peers over these many years.  Truly great men of science are a rare breed indeed!

These days, science seems to have become a lot more trivial than in the old days... Now that various tools are now a part of our everyday lives (computers, cell phones, etc), people just don't pay as much attention.

Plus, most of the great barriers have been overcome (Flight, faster than sound, spaceflight, etc.).  Faster than light is one of the few left, I think.  Plus perhaps visiting a nearby solar system, which won't likely happen in my lifetime unless I hitch a ride at Area 51 or something...

Mars is simply a matter of time in my book.  It'd be a bigger deal if it currently had life on it.  As it is, I look it as simply a bigger, grander moonshot.  We'll live there IF WE HAVE TO, but otherwise just visit occasionally.

Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: jworth on May 18, 2011, 08:02:26 am
It should be noted that the theories of relativity are among the most scrutinized and "proven" theories ever put forth.  This experiment with all if it's expense is like adding one more digit to Pi.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: bbroj on May 18, 2011, 09:49:54 am
I would venture to say that most, if not all of us have one or more GPS units in our households. If not for the research into clock timing to fractions of fractions of a second, these normal, mundane miracles of modern science would never exist. The truth is that you can never know what development or invention may follow on the heels of such science without first doing the science. I would rather see my tax dollars going to this than any number of other programs now funded by the public purse. Who knows, is teleportation, anti gravity power, or spacetime travel going to grow from studies like these? It's more than just proving Einstien's theories, it's developing the technology to do so and moving forward in the process.
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Bergmenized on May 18, 2011, 01:10:29 pm
So, if I'm understanding this correctly, scientists have, after years of extensive study, have figured out that

THIS PLANET SUCKS!  ::)

Again, couldn't resist.  Me and my bad puns!

Seriously, though, it's always good to see further evidence of a theory being on the right track.  I find it pleasantly interesting that a patent clerk's insights into mathematics have time and again met the rigorous scrutiny of his peers over these many years.  Truly great men of science are a rare breed indeed!

These days, science seems to have become a lot more trivial than in the old days... Now that various tools are now a part of our everyday lives (computers, cell phones, etc), people just don't pay as much attention.

Plus, most of the great barriers have been overcome (Flight, faster than sound, spaceflight, etc.).  Faster than light is one of the few left, I think.  Plus perhaps visiting a nearby solar system, which won't likely happen in my lifetime unless I hitch a ride at Area 51 or something...

Mars is simply a matter of time in my book.  It'd be a bigger deal if it currently had life on it.  As it is, I look it as simply a bigger, grander moonshot.  We'll live there IF WE HAVE TO, but otherwise just visit occasionally.

You need a vigorously active manned space program to advance on a plan for a Mars voyage, one in which we do not have. Being that it has basically been deconstructed, I have little hope that it will be revived in the forseeable future.

Sad indeed.

Dan
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: B.D.F. on May 18, 2011, 02:17:05 pm
That photo kinda' looks like that astronaut on the right is going to attack the astronaut on the left with his fobs!

In space no one can hear you scream.

Brian


There you go! It's a little more difficult to change the batteries in NASA's KIPASS fob though. Lot's of training involved.

([url]http://amazingdata.com/mediadata8/Image/amazing_fun_science_technology_2009072911581969.jpg[/url])
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: MizzouMike on May 18, 2011, 08:34:56 pm
You need a vigorously active manned space program to advance on a plan for a Mars voyage, one in which we do not have. Being that it has basically been deconstructed, I have little hope that it will be revived in the forseeable future.

Sad indeed.

Dan

With the Space Shuttle program is ending, I read somewhere that we are going to use Russian Soyuz to transport our astronaughts to the ISS.   Anyone else think this is a bad idea?
 :offtopic:
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: jworth on May 19, 2011, 07:26:07 am
I think putting humans in space at this point i time is a bad idea.  Going to the moon and all was cool, but the return on our investment is extremely small now.  We can put up dozens if not a hundred of robotic missions for the price of a single manned mission.  Seems to me we keep up our human presence in space for bragging rights only.  NASA has become a government works program.  "Keep another engineer/scientist employed," should be their slogan.

Now that the Russians have a monopoly on putting people in space their fee has increased substantially.   This only makes things worse. 

Look, I get how cool it is.  It awes me every time I see something about the Apollo missions.  Being extremely cool doesn't make it worth while, however.   Those that brag on the technology developed by the space program have far too little faith in the ingenuity of private enterprise. 
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Bergmenized on May 19, 2011, 01:16:51 pm
Einstein was right again. There is a space-time vortex around Earth, and its shape precisely matches the predictions of Einstein's theory of gravity.

A theory published in 1916 for cryin' out loud. Unbelievable.

Dan
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Conrad on May 19, 2011, 01:26:33 pm
Can you imgine if Einstein was alive today and in his prime?
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Two Skies on May 19, 2011, 01:36:26 pm
Can you imgine if Einstein was alive today and in his prime?


Yeah, all of our GPS's would be off, 'cuz Relativity would have just been discovered.

Oh, and WWII may have went on a bit longer.  The atom bomb might be a new fangled idea instead of being 76 years old.  Nuclear reactors might also be a new fangled idea, and if so, most if not all of our navies would be using fossil fuels instead of reactors.  Most submarines would as a consequence be less stealthy due to their diesel motors.  Sean Connery would not have starred in The Hunt For Red October due to the book not being written, I really enjoyed that movie.

Of course, some other guy might have come up with the theory, and we wouldn't have those lovable Einstein mug shots!
http://www.google.com/search?q=einstein+tongue&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1048&bih=636 (http://www.google.com/search?q=einstein+tongue&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1048&bih=636)
Title: Re: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment
Post by: Conrad on May 19, 2011, 02:35:26 pm
Yeah, all of our GPS's would be off, 'cuz Relativity would have just been discovered.

Oh, and WWII may have went on a bit longer.  The atom bomb might be a new fangled idea instead of being 76 years old.  Nuclear reactors might also be a new fangled idea, and if so, most if not all of our navies would be using fossil fuels instead of reactors.  Most submarines would as a consequence be less stealthy due to their diesel motors.  Sean Connery would not have starred in The Hunt For Red October due to the book not being written, I really enjoyed that movie.

Of course, some other guy might have come up with the theory, and we wouldn't have those lovable Einstein mug shots!
[url]http://www.google.com/search?q=einstein+tongue&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1048&bih=636[/url] ([url]http://www.google.com/search?q=einstein+tongue&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1048&bih=636[/url])


Point taken.

Um, someone like Einstein then. We wouldn't want to have missed out on the Einstein bobbleheads now would we?

(http://wishididntknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/einstein-bobblehead-21.jpg)