This, when you talk to the GP-B team, is the hope they profess. Not to overthrow Einstein. Not to lay the foundation for a new theory of the universe. "Iíd like to see experimental results with very low uncertainty and internal consistency which other scientists will believe," says John Turneaure.
But thatís just the problem, say some critics of GP-B, who contend that the vast majority of the scientific community already believes the theory of general relativity. Itís been supported increasingly by sophisticated astronomical observations, say these critics; GP-B is a risky, one-shot experiment that canít be corroborated by another, so why not spend our money in a potentially more productive area?
To which Everitt and his team reply that, accepted or not, Einsteinís theory needs revision. For one thing, it doesnít square with quantum mechanics. Furthermore, while Einsteinís theory of special relativity, which weaved space and time together and produced the famous equation E=mc2, is well verified, his theory of general relativity isnít. Though a few observations confirm certain aspects of general relativity (see "The Case for Einstein,"), important aspects of the theory have yet to be tested by traditional scientific experimentation. Given a chance to do that--to achieve some results that are unprecedented in their precision and others that are altogether unique--why not try?