Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Is Pluto Being Pulled by the Pioneer Effect?

If the Pioneer effect is real, then the outer planets ought to be tugged by it too.

Here’s an interesting take on the Pioneer effect–the mysterious deceleration that seems to be afflicting Pioneer 10 and 11 as they head out of the Solar System.

If the effect is real, it ought to influence the orbits of the outer planets. Pluto, in particular, ought top feel this force if it’s out there. In the last few years, a few astronomers have calculated what sort of influence the Pioneer effect should have on Pluto, concluding that it should produce significant periodic effects. The fact that we don’t see these effects means we can rule out the Pioneer effect as a phenomenon affecting the outer planets, they say. And that means it probably isn’t a fundamental effect but some kind of artifact.

But now it sees that it’s too early to be making these kinds of assertions. Gary Page from George Mason University in Virginia and a couple of pals say the calculations are less than convincing. They point out that our knowledge of Pluto’s orbit is based entirely on optical observations and so are far less well characterised than the nearer planets.

In fact, so poor is our knowledge of Pluto’s orbit that it is impossible to say whether it is being pulled by a Pioneer-like force or not.

Page and pals say:

“Of course, this does not mean that the Pioneer effect exists. It does mean that we cannot deny the existence of the Pioneer
effect on the basis of motions of the Pluto as currently known.”

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0905.0030: How Well Do We Know The Orbits Of The Outer Planets?

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.