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Telemetry data from Pioneer 10 , Pioneer 11, and Galileo , as well as data from the Space Network (DSN) owned by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, USA), allowed a team of American specialists (JDAnderson, Ph.F. Laing, ELLau et al.) to establish the presence of anomalous acceleration in the motion of these spacecraft. In addition to the usual acceleration caused by the attraction of the Sun and falling inversely proportional to the square of the distance from it, a slight additional acceleration, constant in magnitude and directed towards the Sun, is detected in the motion of the devices.

The Pioneer 10 was launched in March 1972 , and the Pioneer 11 soon followed. After passing through Jupiter and Saturn, the vehicles moved in a hyperbolic orbit near the plane of the ecliptic. Although the Pioneer 10 mission officially ended in 1997 , it continues to transmit messages to Earth. Radio messages from Pioneer 11 ceased to be received in 1990.

Mysterious acceleration at the edge of the solar system. Telemetry data from Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and Galileo.

Pioneer-type spacecraft are ideal for studying the dynamics of astronomical objects. Firstly, they are equipped with a system for stabilizing their own rotation; secondly, far removed (in March 1997, “Pioneer 10” was located at a distance of 67 AU from the Sun), and therefore does not require frequent maneuvering in order to maintain the correct orientation to the Earth. This allows for precision Doppler measurements and, in particular, to determine the acceleration of the apparatus with an accuracy of 10-10 cm / s2 (according to data averaged over five days).

Already in 1980 , when the “Pioneer-10” was at a distance of 20 AU from the Sun, there was a systematic discrepancy between the values ​​of the measured acceleration of the apparatus and calculated by attraction to the Sun. Additional acceleration is directed strictly at the Sun and is estimated at 8 • 10–8 cm / s2 (for the indicated distance, the gravitational attraction to the Sun is about 3.8 • 10–4 cm / s2 ). Subsequent measurements confirmed this result with increasing accuracy. The biggest surprise was the constancy of incremental acceleration: as the Pioneer-10 moves away from 40 to 60 AU the acceleration value did not change with an accuracy of 2 • 10–8 cm / s2 . As detailed calculations have shown, anomalous additional acceleration cannot be caused either by the gravitational action of the Kuiper belt or by galactic attraction, as well as by a number of other non-gravitational factors: gas leakage from the apparatus, pressure of sunlight or wind, etc. All of them contribute to acceleration of at least two to three orders of magnitude less.

An analysis of the Galileo motion gives a close value of the additional anomalous acceleration ( ~ 10–7 cm / s2 ), however, for this apparatus, the contribution to the acceleration due to the pressure of sunlight is about the same value, and in addition, the uncertainty associated with frequent maneuvers is great “ Galileo . "

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Publication date 09/23/2004

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