Details sum up tests confirming Einstein’s general relativity
GP-B Image Archive/Stanford University
A grueling but ultimately successful effort to test Einstein’s 100-year-old general theory of relativity has come to a close more than half a century after it began. Twenty-one papers published online November 17 in Classical and Quantum Gravity present a detailed summation of Gravity Probe B, a satellite that in 2011 confirmed Einstein’s prediction that Earth dents and whips up the spacetime around it.
“It’s very exciting,” says principal investigator Francis Everitt of Stanford University. “It’s been quite exhausting.”
Mission scientists managed to deliver relatively precise measurements of two general relativity phenomena despite several mishaps that threatened to render the data useless. “I think the Gravity Probe B team is the most heroic bunch of scientists I’ve ever been affiliated with,” says Peter Saulson, a physicist at