Status Report

Finding the Origin of the Pioneer Anomaly

By SpaceRef Editor
August 21, 2003
Filed under , ,

General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology, abstract

From: Michael Martin Nieto <>
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 22:13:19 GMT (262kb)

Finding the Origin of the Pioneer Anomaly

Michael Martin Nieto,
Slava G. Turyshev

Comments: 14 pages, 5 figures

Report-no: LA-UR-03-5540

Analysis of the radio tracking data from the Pioneer 10/11 spacecraft at
distances between 20 – 70 AU from the Sun has consistently indicated the
presence of an anomalous, small Doppler frequency drift. The drift can be
interpreted as being due to a constant acceleration of a_P = (8.74 pm 1.33) x
10^{-8} cm/s^2 directed towards the Sun. Although it is suspected that there is
a systematic origin to the effect, none has been found. As a result, the nature
of this anomaly has become of growing interest. We have developed a concept for
a deep-space mission that would reveal the origin of the discovered anomaly. A
number of critical requirements and design considerations for such a mission
are outlined and addressed. In particular we explore the use of a solar sail as
a means to reach a great distance from the Sun in a short period of time.

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