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Novel methods to measure the gravitational constant in space


Abstract

We present two novel methods, tested by LISA Pathfinder, to measure the gravitational constant G for the first time in space. Experiment 1 uses electrostatic suspension forces to measure a change in acceleration of a test mass due to a displaced source mass. Experiment 2 measures a change in relative acceleration between two test masses due to a slowly varying fuel tank mass. Experiment 1 gave a value of G=6.71±0.42(×10−11)  m3 s−2 kg−1 and experiment 2 gave 6.15±0.35(×10−11)  m3 s−2 kg−1, both consistent with each other to 1σ and with the CODATA 2014 recommended value of 6.67408±0.00031(×10−11)  m3 s−2 kg−1 to 2σ. We outline several ideas to improve the results for a future experiment, and we suggest that a measurement in space would isolate many terrestrial issues that could be responsible for the inconsistencies between recent measurements.

Abstract

We present two novel methods, tested by LISA Pathfinder, to measure the gravitational constant G for the first time in space. Experiment 1 uses electrostatic suspension forces to measure a change in acceleration of a test mass due to a displaced source mass. Experiment 2 measures a change in relative acceleration between two test masses due to a slowly varying fuel tank mass. Experiment 1 gave a value of G=6.71±0.42(×10−11)  m3 s−2 kg−1 and experiment 2 gave 6.15±0.35(×10−11)  m3 s−2 kg−1, both consistent with each other to 1σ and with the CODATA 2014 recommended value of 6.67408±0.00031(×10−11)  m3 s−2 kg−1 to 2σ. We outline several ideas to improve the results for a future experiment, and we suggest that a measurement in space would isolate many terrestrial issues that could be responsible for the inconsistencies between recent measurements.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:20 September 2019
Deposited On:30 Oct 2019 10:57
Last Modified:14 Feb 2020 08:28
Publisher:American Physical Society
ISSN:2470-0010
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevd.100.062003
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100013-103747
  • : Project TitleEntwicklung dynamischer Repräsentationen bei Kindern

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