A Bizarre Spacecraft “Flyby Anomaly” Has Been Baffling Scientists for 30 Years

Stephen Adler, Professor Emeritus in the School of Natural Sciences, speaks with VICE News about a small, unexpected nudge experienced by spacecraft during planetary flybys.

The seemingly insignificant boost of a few millimeters per second was first noticed on December 8, 1990, as NASA’s Galileo spacecraft made its first pass of Earth on a one-way trip to Jupiter.

“I’ve seen a lot of possible discrepancies come and go,” Adler said, adding that a lot of them “have gone away when the experiments or theory have been refined.”

“On the other hand, every now and then, an anomaly persists and turns out to be a harbinger of real new physics,” he continued. “So one has to take them somewhat seriously, and it’s fun looking into them, but one also has to take them with a certain grain of salt.”

Read more at VICE.


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