Einstein's Theories Put To The Test

from the it's-about-time...-and-relativity dept

Well, it’s only taken half a century, but NASA has finally gotten around to going ahead with a study to test some of Einstein’s most well known theories, about how the earth distorts space and time. The experiment will take place aboard a satellite and use a bunch of specially created balls (described as “the most perfect spheres ever made”) in a vacuum flask chilled to near absolute zero. The balls will be set to spin, and if Einstein’s theories are correct, their orientation should change ever so slightly. Of course, it sounds like we’ll have to wait until at least the middle of 2005 to find out how the experiments went. Of course, some people have waited for ages for this experiment to go forward anyway, and the bad joke generator in my mind is (of course) suggesting that I point out “it’s all relative” anyway.

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Comments on “Einstein's Theories Put To The Test”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

The summary at the end of the article is very misleading… the “… have we confirmed… NO!” part.

While this experiment is important, and will give direct measurement of a portion of the theory… overall, both special and general relativity are the most tested theory every proposed in physics. They’ve passed everything from clock slowing to light bending to explaining the orbit of mercury with flying colors.

The “delayed 50 years” is a bit harsh… the experiment is tough to mechanically arrange. The clues to this: “Largest vacum chamber… quietest environment… most perfect spheres…” ever, for all three. And when they say ever, they mean the best mankind has ever done. When it take mechanicial engineering that breaks the best ever – that’s why the experiment takes so long to build and fly.

So why all the negative attitudes?

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