Is the 4th of May a significant date for all mankind? Maybe not for all but for astrophysicists working on time and space relation sure is. NASA finally presented the results of the Gravity Probe B (GP-B) experiment that concluded that Einstein got it right. Einstein had predicted that earths spin and gravity should create a distortion in the form of a vortex in space and time. The following sentence taken from the NASA web site says it all.
“The space-time around Earth appears to be distorted just as general relativity predicts,” says Stanford University physicist Francis Everitt, principal investigator of the Gravity Probe B mission.
The whole experiment was based on a simple idea but on a very complex implementation. Back in 2004 NASA launched GP-B, a satellite equipped with four perfect gyroscopes. The gyroscopes are so perfect that the spheres had to vary up to 40 atomic layers from the perfect sphere. Any variation bigger than that would lead to inaccurate results. The satellite was not simple either since it was specially designed not to disturb the gyros.
The experiment finally gives us a better understanding of how the space and time web can be affected around bigger objects such as large stars and black holes giving astrophysicists the proof that they needed for Einsteins theory.
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