Feeds

Perfect balls and rubber sheets

US Space Agency launch to test Einstein's maths

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Boffins are set to discover if the Earth distorts space-time as it spins, as the Gravity-B probe is scheduled to launch today at 18:01 GMT.

The satellite will provide precise measurements of how a massive object, such as the Earth, bends space. It will also test the theory that the Earth drags space along with it as it spins

The probe will carry four of the most perfect spheres ever made. By watching how these near-perfect spheres spin, the US Space Agency hopes to test two predictions of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

The experiment is very simple, on paper, and was first proposed in the 1930s by Sir Arthurs Eddington. The spacecraft will be aimed constantly at a distant star. The spin axes of the on-board gyroscopes should drift minutely if the dragging effect occurs.

Actually carrying out the experiment depended on being able to build spheres perfect enough to detect the tiny changes predicted by Einstein's equations. The balls must also be kept close to absolute zero, and are held inside the biggest vacuum chamber ever sent into space, according to the BBC.

Gravity-B is due to take off on a Boeing Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Base in California. If successful, the van-sized spacecraft will orbit the planet 640km over our heads. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.