Italians put ‘disco ball’ into orbit
Italian physicists  have put a test particle into space to attempt to measure an effect predicted by general relativity.
The object, which is about the size of a football, made of tungsten and covered with 92 reflectors, is supposedly the “most perfect” test particle ever put into space. It’s entirely passive, weighs 400kg, and will be tracked by lasers from Earth.
It was launched on 13 February, 2012, and is known as Lares, or the “Laser Relativity Satellite”. Its objective is to provide data that will allow physicists to measure a phenomenon known as rotational frame-dragging.
This is a tiny, subtle effect predicted by general relativity where massive spinning bodies, like planets, drag space-time with them as they turn, changing the angle at which small particles close by rotate.
Nasa’s Gravity Probe B, launched in 2004, contained four small, spherical gyroscopes to try and measure this effect, but problems with the spacecraft reduced their accuracy to only about 20 percent. The Italians believe their approach is a much cheaper way of achieving the same goal.
It’s hoped that by tracing the angle of Lares’ rotation, along with a pair of other less-perfect balls already in orbit - Lageos 1 & 2 - the frame-dragging effect will finally be able to be observed.

Italians put ‘disco ball’ into orbit

Italian physicists have put a test particle into space to attempt to measure an effect predicted by general relativity.

The object, which is about the size of a football, made of tungsten and covered with 92 reflectors, is supposedly the “most perfect” test particle ever put into space. It’s entirely passive, weighs 400kg, and will be tracked by lasers from Earth.

It was launched on 13 February, 2012, and is known as Lares, or the “Laser Relativity Satellite”. Its objective is to provide data that will allow physicists to measure a phenomenon known as rotational frame-dragging.

This is a tiny, subtle effect predicted by general relativity where massive spinning bodies, like planets, drag space-time with them as they turn, changing the angle at which small particles close by rotate.

Nasa’s Gravity Probe B, launched in 2004, contained four small, spherical gyroscopes to try and measure this effect, but problems with the spacecraft reduced their accuracy to only about 20 percent. The Italians believe their approach is a much cheaper way of achieving the same goal.

It’s hoped that by tracing the angle of Lares’ rotation, along with a pair of other less-perfect balls already in orbit - Lageos 1 & 2 - the frame-dragging effect will finally be able to be observed.


Posted 1 year ago with 6,188 notes
Tagged:Astronomysciencespaceearthphysicsgyroscope

  1. joshala reblogged this from spaceplasma
  2. damntakethesethoughts reblogged this from luna-frost and added:
    Science is lovely.
  3. megliotordichemais reblogged this from spaceplasma and added:
    che ignorante..e io che credevo avessero aperto una discoteca per alieni
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