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Gravity Probe B

Testing Einstein's Universe

Articles about Gravity Probe B

Article about GP-B have been broken into two categories: Post-launch and Pre-launch articles. Please choose a link above, or just scroll down to see them all.

Post Launch Articles about Gravity Probe B

Pictures and Video

There were many photos and video clips. We have attempted to gather a complete list below.

Photographer William G. Hartenstein's Web site
An extraordinary set of photos that he took on launch day.

The Spaceflight Now Web site.
This site contains an excellent photo gallery, as well as a number of Quicktime video clips of the launch. It is a very comprehensive source of information about the GP-B launch. However, you have to become a subscriber to the site ($$$) in order to view the video clips.

Gravity Probe B's Image gallery
Our own image library has just a couple of pictures of this spectacular event.

View a Video of the GP-B Launch
View a 3 1/2 minute QuickTime video clip of the GP-B launch, produced by the Stanford News Service. Please note that the video requires Quick Time to play. Click here to link to download Quick Time.

The Gravity Probe B DVD
Norbert Bartel, Professor of Astrophysics and Space Sciences at York University in Toronto, Canada, has produced and directed a 26-minute documentary movie about the Gravity Probe B experiment entitled, Testing Einstein's Universe. This movie, along with 80 minutes of additional video about relativity, physics, and astronomy is available on a DVD, which you can purchase from the Website: http://www.astronomyfilms.com/

News Clips

ABC World News Tonight
Sunday evening, April 18th (two days before launch), a feature story about Gravity Probe B and principal investigator, Francis Everitt, aired on ABC World News Tonight.

All Things Considered - National Public Radio
Also on April 18th, NPR's David Kestenbaum talked with GP-B's principal investigator, Francis Everitt on the program

Talk of the Nation—Science Friday, National Public Radio
On Friday, April 16th, Gravity Probe B Co-Principal Investigator, John Turneaure, was interviewed by Ira Flatow.

New York Times
On Tuesday, April 13,2004, Gravity Probe B was the lead story in the Science section. At this point in time, a reprint fee is required to read the text of the article.

San Jose Mercury News
GP-B was one of the front page stories.

New Scientist Magazine
A story about GP-B appeared on April 13, 2004.

Kennedy Space Center GP-B Web site
View a Real Player streaming video of the official pre-launch Gravity Probe B mission and science briefing held on Friday, April 2, 2004 at 1:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The participants in the briefing (pictured from left to right in the photo) were:

--Anne Kinney, Director of Astronomy/Physics Division, NASA Headquarters
--Rex Geveden, Program Manager, GP-B and Deputy Director, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
--Francis Everitt, GP-B Principal Investigator at Stanford University, Stanford, California.
--Bradford Parkinson, GP-B Co-Principal Investigator at Stanford University, Stanford California.
--Kip Thorne, Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.

Science Press Pre-Launch Articles about Gravity Probe B

 

"This is the most technologically difficult experiment ever done...and if they pull it off, it will be a tour de force. There are so many things that are pushed far beyond where we thought the technology could go. The mission is called Gravity Probe B, and the best way to describe it is with superlatives..."    Read more...

G. Chui. Space Probe to Test Einstein's Views on Gravity, Time and Space  San Jose Mercury News at SiliconValley.com. February 11, 2002

 

"Relativity Mission Requires Custom-built Detector Mounts. Low-temperature system provides thermal insulation between detector electronics operating at 80 K and a quartz telescope operating at 2.5 K..."    Read more...

M. Sullivan & M. Bye. Relativity Mission Requires Custom-built Detector Mounts Optoelectronics World. Supplement to Laser Focus World. March 1998, pp. 27-31.

 

"In late 1959 Leonard Schiff, then a professor of physics at Stanford, noticed a magazine ad for a new kind of gyroscope. The ad prompted a discussion with his colleague William Fairbank, an aficionado of low-temperature physics, who asked what he would do with a perfect gyroscope, should such a device ever be constructed. Schiff's answer was just what Fairbank had in mind himself: Use it to test Einstein's general theory of relativity..."    

Read more...

G. Taubs. The Gravity Probe. -- Discover, Vol. 18 No. 3, March 1997, pp. 62-71.

 

"It is true that there is no very convincing alternative theory to Einstein's. It is also true that we know the theory must break down somewhere. The difficulty is that nobody knows where or how it will break down." That is the conundrum that set Stanford scientists on a collision course with one of the most influential figures in the history of science...

"    

R.L. Holtz. The Relative Proof. Stanford Magazine, March/April 1997, pp. 36-43.

 

"The spheres will have to be almost flawless since any imperfections would create a torque that mimics the effect the researchers are trying to measure. Variations in density within each sphere must be kept below a few parts per million, thousands of times better than a typical ball bearing. Each must be electrically neutral so that no charge can build up which might swamp the results. And their surfaces must be polished to within 40 atomic layers of a perfect sphere... "    

Read more...

B. Ianotta. Music of the Spheres. New Scientist, 31 August 1996, pp. 28-31.

 
[No reprint available]

A. Lawler. Earthly Politics Boosts Space Probe. -- Science, Vol. 267, 24 March 1995, pp. 1756-1758.

 

"Space hardware is often designed and built direct from drawing board to finished product, using components and systems with some flight history. GP-B doesn’t have that luxury-nor does it have any margin for error. "    

Read more...

F. Kuznik. The Einstein Test. -- Air and Space Smithsonian, Vol. 7 No. 5, December 1992/January 1993, pp. 70-76.