Gravity’s Probably Not Causing the Pioneer Anomaly

A quick follow-up to one of the talks I gave at Dragon*Con last year. The Pioneer Anomaly refers to how the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes were pulled more strongly towards the sun than they should have been, making them slow down more than expected. Scientists have been trying to explain what’s going on for about fifteen years. Wikipedia has a pretty good rundown on possible explanations. But to date we still don’t know what’s really causing the Pioneer acceleration.

One theory was that our knowledge of gravity is wrong. There might be higher-order effects that only happen at very long distances, so that we don’t normally see the effect. However, any gravity weirdness like that would affect not only Pioneer 10 and 11 but also the outermost planets in the solar system. A recent paper looked at the orbits of some of Neptune’s moons. They didn’t find any evidence of the Pioneer Anomaly, which means some of the tweaks to gravity like MOND can’t explain the anomaly.

Caution: you may want to skip the comments at the bottom of the linked article, as there’s some crankpotulous discussions going on.

5 thoughts on “Gravity’s Probably Not Causing the Pioneer Anomaly

  1. Don’t read the comments? But the comments are great! I mean, Bose-Einstein condensates show up by the third comment!

    The guy selling his crackpot book in earnest, tedious detail is not nearly as much fun, I admin.

  2. As soon as you wrote that, I immediately HAD to read the comments. I couldn’t find the post relating the Pioneer anomaly to thimerosal, though.

  3. The mystery has been solved by me.

    the extra thrust is caused either by

    1:-solar wind which is mostly charged particles.

    2:- Electrostatic forces between the sun or the volume filled with the solar wind and the space craft.

    or a combination of the above 2.

    get a plastic pen rub it against nylon…hold near a thin stream of water from tap….water stream is deflected against the whole of the Earth’s gravity!

    The moribound morons at NASA and other establishment astronomers always ignore electric forces….they seem to have gravity fixation up their collective backside.

    1. It’s most likely not electrostatic forces. The magnetic field strength in the outer solar system is far too weak; in addition, the spacecraft can’t hold enough charge to produce enough acceleration.

  4. It’s so simple, you “scientific” types simply can’t see the forest for the trees: The Pioneer spacecraft are losing velocity simply because SOMETHING IS SLOWING THEM DOWN. HELLO?? Why else would this be happening? C’mon man… get a clue. NEXT…

    (the preceeding comment is for entertainment purposes only and does not necessarilly reflect the views of Steve Kasian or his associates.)

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