Mysterious Force Influencing NASA Probe in Deep Space

Pioneer10This is bizarre but cool that it was/is happening (feel free to mention updates on this research). Robert Matthews writes in the Telegraph:

Researchers say Pioneer 10, which took the first close-up pictures of Jupiter before leaving our solar system in 1983, is being pulled back to the sun by an unknown force. The effect shows no sign of getting weaker as the spacecraft travels deeper into space, and scientists are considering the possibility that the probe has revealed a new force of nature.

Dr Philip Laing, a member of the research team tracking the craft, said: “We have examined every mechanism and theory we can think of and so far nothing works. “If the effect is real, it will have a big impact on cosmology and spacecraft navigation,” said Dr Laing, of the Aerospace Corporation of California.

Pioneer 10 was launched by Nasa on March 2 1972, and with Pioneer 11, its twin, revolutionised astronomy with detailed images of Jupiter and Saturn. In June 1983, Pioneer 10 passed Pluto, the most distant planet in our solar system.

Both probes are now travelling at 27,000mph towards stars that they will encounter several million years from now. Scientists are continuing to monitor signals from Pioneer 10, which is more than seven billion miles from Earth.

Read More: Telegraph

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  • ET

    This is old news.

    There is also mystery about anomalous acceleration as satellites and rockets/shuttles approach Earth — turns out it is somehow correlated with the angle of approach relative to the equatorial plane (as I recall). One theory is that maybe this is evidence of dark matter accumulating around the earth; however, this theory apparently has some holes in it, as I recall. Nobody has a good explanation for it as far as I know!

  • ET

    This is old news.

    There is also mystery about anomalous acceleration as satellites and rockets/shuttles approach Earth — turns out it is somehow correlated with the angle of approach relative to the equatorial plane (as I recall). One theory is that maybe this is evidence of dark matter accumulating around the earth; however, this theory apparently has some holes in it, as I recall. Nobody has a good explanation for it as far as I know!

    • Haystack

      The connection to dark matter is interesting. Dark matter was originally posited to explain why the outer edges of galaxies don’t rotate at the appropriate speed, given their apparent mass. Here’s an anomaly that occurs at the outer reaches of the Solar System. You describe something analogous that happens as objects approach Earth’s gravity well. It would be cool if all three phenomena turned out to share the same source–some natural force or property of gravity that we don’t yet understand.

      • Tuna Ghost

        That’s what I’m banking on, a heretofore unknown property or effect of gravity. It seems like a safe bet, seeing as how we still know fuck-all about gravity

      • gemmarama

        this is a quite nice wee article on the subject of dark matter, etc:

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jun/21/higgs-boson

  • Haystack

    The connection to dark matter is interesting. Dark matter was originally posited to explain why the outer edges of galaxies don’t rotate at the appropriate speed, given their apparent mass. Here’s an anomaly that occurs at the outer reaches of the Solar System. You describe something analogous that happens as objects approach Earth’s gravity well. It would be cool if all three phenomena turned out to share the same source–some natural force or property of gravity that we don’t yet understand.

  • JerryP.

    Science is coming to a place where it is confusing itself. For so long no it has established itself as a theory of matter. With Quantum physics the old theories and models are fast becoming obsolete and the math is not working to explain all of the new discoveries. Science will have to start to embrace that which is metaphysical in order to come with answers to these new observations. We now know that there is more in an atom than we thought not long ago. Neutrons, protons, baryon, quarks, gluon, how much smaller can it go? In the other direction, how much larger can it go? Maybe that is what they are missing. Something so big they can’t see it. Oh well all they can do is observe and draw conclusions until the big picture presents itself.

  • JerryP.

    Science is coming to a place where it is confusing itself. For so long no it has established itself as a theory of matter. With Quantum physics the old theories and models are fast becoming obsolete and the math is not working to explain all of the new discoveries. Science will have to start to embrace that which is metaphysical in order to come with answers to these new observations. We now know that there is more in an atom than we thought not long ago. Neutrons, protons, baryon, quarks, gluon, how much smaller can it go? In the other direction, how much larger can it go? Maybe that is what they are missing. Something so big they can’t see it. Oh well all they can do is observe and draw conclusions until the big picture presents itself.

    • Haystack

      All anyone can do is observe and draw conclusions.

      Quantum physics has been around for the last 100 years. Scientific models are always being revised; anomalies are always creeping up which point to the limits of our understanding. There’s nothing special about to the questions of today that they require metaphysical explanations.

  • marklar

    My hunch is that it is probably a property of the much ignored realities of plasma cosmology. No dark matter conjured by mathematical voodoo necessary.

  • marklar

    My hunch is that it is probably a property of the much ignored realities of plasma cosmology. No dark matter conjured by mathematical voodoo necessary.

  • Wmmvrrvrrmm

    I’m sure I remember this from over a decade ago

  • Wmmvrrvrrmm

    I’m sure I remember this from over a decade ago

  • Tuna Ghost

    That’s what I’m banking on, a heretofore unknown property or effect of gravity. It seems like a safe bet, seeing as how we still know fuck-all about gravity

  • A Bad Joke

    I bet its a UFO towing it back to return it to us thinking we ‘lost’ it.

    They will then crash on our couches for the next few years and not pay rent.

  • A Bad Joke

    I bet its a UFO towing it back to return it to us thinking we ‘lost’ it.

    They will then crash on our couches for the next few years and not pay rent.

  • Quali111

    more than dark matter this is seriously dark energy which is a whole new thing…. it shows that even vaccuum has energy because if a container has vaccuum in it there is supposed to be nothing in it.. but how do we know that since we dont know whether we hav taken everythin out… the energy of no matter balances out the energy of matter….

    • A Bad Joke

      Personally I think this whole “dark” thing is simply something we have yet to understand. I have no doubt there are things in this Universe that are but mysteries to even our brightest minds. In 100 years we will know totally what they are, and will modify our theories.

  • Quali111

    more than dark matter this is seriously dark energy which is a whole new thing…. it shows that even vaccuum has energy because if a container has vaccuum in it there is supposed to be nothing in it.. but how do we know that since we dont know whether we hav taken everythin out… the energy of no matter balances out the energy of matter….

  • Haystack

    All anyone can do is observe and draw conclusions.

    Quantum physics has been around for the last 100 years. Scientific models are always being revised; anomalies are always creeping up which point to the limits of our understanding. There’s nothing special about to the questions of today that they require metaphysical explanations.

  • Velocigoose

    If someone could explain this to me in terms I could understand, I’d be grateful. I’ve never been a science/math whiz… but if they are being pulled back -into- the sun via gravitational pull or whatever other method… then how can they be traveling away from us towards distant stars at 27,000 mph?
    Or am I just reading it wrong?

    • emperorreagan

      Imagine you’re running then hit a big patch of ice & slide. Your momentum carries you along quite a way.Imagine now that you’re holding a pretty weak elastic cord tied to a tree and do the exact same thing. The cord doesn’t exert enough force to overcome your momentum and cause you to stop, but it does exert enough force to slow you down a little bit as it stretches. It’s pulling you back, but momentum is still winning.Whatever force is working on the satellite is working against the direction of its momentum. It’s not enough to overcome the momentum, but it is slowing it down a little.

    • Nancy_julian606

      Well, I’m not exactly sure the circumstances surrounding the Pioneer probe, this is the first I’ve heard of this, I’m not sure if it’s true. Some things on this site seem factual, but some seem… dubious. But it is entirely possible for the probe to be heading simultaneously back inward toward the sun and outward toward a distant star, depending on it’s trajectory and what other objects may be having a gravitational influence on it. Put simply, if the star that is Pioneer’s ultimate destination was on the opposite side of the sun as it’s current location, it would have to spiral around the solar system, at some point traveling inward to get outward. A good example of this was the Cassini-Huygens probe. It’s destination was Saturn, but as it’s trajectory involved using a gravity slingshot around several other objects, the path to Saturn led Cassini inward, across orbit of Venus…twice, and then past Earth again, and then outward. As space is 3 dimensional, the pathways to some stars lay inward, toward the Sun, and furthermore, in the densely packed and intricate gravitational systems of our Solar System involve multiple heavy objects, each of which can alter the course of a probe, any object travelling through the Solar System will not be able to take a straight path, it must dance around the gravity wells of various planets, moons, comets, the sun itself, an object may have to go in multiple different directions to get to where it is going

  • Velocigoose

    If someone could explain this to me in terms I could understand, I’d be grateful. I’ve never been a science/math whiz… but if they are being pulled back -into- the sun via gravitational pull or whatever other method… then how can they be traveling away from us towards distant stars at 27,000 mph?
    Or am I just reading it wrong?

  • Wawanipshit

    Maybe it has reached the limit of the reality matrix that confines us all…

  • Wawanipshit

    Maybe it has reached the limit of the reality matrix that confines us all…

  • A Bad Joke

    Personally I think this whole “dark” thing is simply something we have yet to understand. I have no doubt there are things in this Universe that are but mysteries to even our brightest minds. In 100 years we will know totally what they are, and will modify our theories.

  • Basic_science

    Did anyone notice the date of the source article?
    Published: 12:01AM GMT 10 Feb 2002
    And then do even a simple, cursory search to see if we have learned anything in the past 8+ years?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly

  • Basic_science

    Did anyone notice the date of the source article?
    Published: 12:01AM GMT 10 Feb 2002
    And then do even a simple, cursory search to see if we have learned anything in the past 8+ years?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly

  • Richardmoore0129

    Could this be an example of some sort of personal magnetism? Are all things that we create inevitably going to travel back to it’s original state, fuel for the sun?

  • Richardmoore0129

    Could this be an example of some sort of personal magnetism? Are all things that we create inevitably going to travel back to it’s original state, fuel for the sun?

  • scott

    If you read into this further, the slow down is something like 6mph per century of travel… not exactly slamming on the breaks and flinging back.

  • scott

    If you read into this further, the slow down is something like 6mph per century of travel… not exactly slamming on the breaks and flinging back.

  • emperorreagan

    Imagine you’re running then hit a big patch of ice & slide. Your momentum carries you along quite a way.Imagine now that you’re holding a pretty weak elastic cord tied to a tree and do the exact same thing. The cord doesn’t exert enough force to overcome your momentum and cause you to stop, but it does exert enough force to slow you down a little bit as it stretches. It’s pulling you back, but momentum is still winning.Whatever force is working on the satellite is working against the direction of its momentum. It’s not enough to overcome the momentum, but it is slowing it down a little.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    There is always the possibility that not only do planets and masses have gravitational sway over other objects, but perhaps the difficult to calculate movement and collective mass of our very system/galaxy also exerts a faint gravitational pull….

    …just something to contemplate. I love articles like these.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    There is always the possibility that not only do planets and masses have gravitational sway over other objects, but perhaps the difficult to calculate movement and collective mass of our very system/galaxy also exerts a faint gravitational pull….

    …just something to contemplate. I love articles like these.

  • gemmarama

    this is a quite nice wee article on the subject of dark matter, etc:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jun/21/higgs-boson

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JVWYBEYRMYD4VSMZ4H6VZYZ2GY Don

    Science will not have to embrace anything “metaphysical” because what is commonly referred to as metaphysical will one day be shown to fit into mathematical theory. It’s something we haven’t discovered how to think about yet. Whether we will discover it or have it taught to us remains to be shown.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JVWYBEYRMYD4VSMZ4H6VZYZ2GY Don

    Science will not have to embrace anything “metaphysical” because what is commonly referred to as metaphysical will one day be shown to fit into mathematical theory. It’s something we haven’t discovered how to think about yet. Whether we will discover it or have it taught to us remains to be shown.

  • Nancy_julian606

    Well, I’m not exactly sure the circumstances surrounding the Pioneer probe, this is the first I’ve heard of this, I’m not sure if it’s true. Some things on this site seem factual, but some seem… dubious. But it is entirely possible for the probe to be heading simultaneously back inward toward the sun and outward toward a distant star, depending on it’s trajectory and what other objects may be having a gravitational influence on it. Put simply, if the star that is Pioneer’s ultimate destination was on the opposite side of the sun as it’s current location, it would have to spiral around the solar system, at some point traveling inward to get outward. A good example of this was the Cassini-Huygens probe. It’s destination was Saturn, but as it’s trajectory involved using a gravity slingshot around several other objects, the path to Saturn led Cassini inward, across orbit of Venus…twice, and then past Earth again, and then outward. As space is 3 dimensional, the pathways to some stars lay inward, toward the Sun, and furthermore, in the densely packed and intricate gravitational systems of our Solar System involve multiple heavy objects, each of which can alter the course of a probe, any object travelling through the Solar System will not be able to take a straight path, it must dance around the gravity wells of various planets, moons, comets, the sun itself, an object may have to go in multiple different directions to get to where it is going