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Pioneer anomaly

155 bytes added, 08:08, 1 April 2010
/* Explanations */
Several possible explanations, some flawed, have been proposed for this effect:
 
In 2010, creation scientist Dr. D. Russell Humphreys wrote regarding his explanation for the Pioneer anomaly:
 
The only non-standard assumption I used was that the matter of the cosmos is limited in extent, with a fair amount of empty space beyond the matter—an assumption supported by the [[Bible]]. With those relatively modest beginnings, I was able to explain the Pioneer anomaly — it’s due to a change in the ‘fabric’ of space. In fact, this anomaly could be the first local manifestation we have observed of the expansion of the cosmos, and the first evidence that expansion is occurring in the present, not just the past.
 
The assumption I used violently contradicts the foundational assumption of the [[big bang]], which says the universe has no centre and no edge. In that model, the fabric of space would not change. Consequently, the big bang model has been unable to explain the anomalous Pioneer acceleration.<ref>http://creation.com/pioneer-anomaly</ref>}}
 
Other explanations offered:
* The anomalous acceleration could be due to the spacecraft venting energy in certain directions.<ref>http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/breaking/2008/04/13/pioneer-spacecraft-a-step-closer-to-being-boring/</ref> However, such effects would be expected to be more significant earlier on, when the power sources were less degraded.<ref name="Nieto" /> The opposite was actually the case.
* Drag forces from space dust, analogous to air resistance, could be slowing the spacecraft down. While the average concentration of interplanetary dust is not high enough to produce the observed acceleration, the Pioneer spacecraft could conceivably have picked up an electric charge which could be attracting dust<ref>William F. Hall. "[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physletb.2007.01.006 Can charge drag explain the Pioneer anomaly?]" ''Physics Letters B'', 1 March 2007</ref>.
* The theory of [[General Relativity]] and the [[Law of Universal Gravitation]] could be wrong; the gravitational force could be slightly stronger than predicted. In this context, it is important to note that other spacecraft flying in hyperbolic trajectories around celestial bodies have also experienced anomalous gravitational effects.
* There could be gravitational forces from other celestial bodies that have not been taken into account. While the [[Kuiper Belt]] cannot provide the necessary gravitational force<ref>O Bertolami and P Vieira. "[http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0264-9381/23/14/005 Pioneer anomaly and the Kuiper Belt mass distribution]", ''Classical and Quantum Gravity'', 2006 </ref>, Dr. [[Russell Humphreys]] has proposed an explanation<ref name="Humphreys">Russell Humphreys. "[http://creation.com/images/journal_of_creation/vol21/5181creationist.pdf Creationist cosmologies explain the anomalous acceleration of Pioneer spacecraft]." ''Journal of Creation'', August 2007.</ref> of the Pioneer anomaly as part of [[Starlight_problem#Humphreys.27_model|his new cosmology]], as the pull from the center of mass of the universe, which he locates inside the [[solar system]]. However, he does not explain why this gravitational force does not influence the motion of the planets.
==References==