When in August 2014 Professor Claus Laemmerzahl, Executive Director of Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the University of Bremen, learned that Galileo satellites 5 and 6 had not reached their designated orbits, he immediately had a vision of using them for his research on the general theory of relativity. Now the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has agreed funding for his “scientific recycling” project and granted him and his ZARM team access to the data collected by the Galileo satellites.
“Milena“ and ”Doresa“ were designed to orbit the Earth at a constant height of 23,000 kilometers to deliver precise navigation data for Galileo, the European alternative to the GPS system. However, a frozen fuel line on the launch vehicle caused the satellites to be marooned in an elliptical orbit.
Consequently, their height above the Earth varies continuously between 17,500 and 25,000 kilometers. These fluctuations in height leave them unable to perform their intended task but ideal for the investigation of gravitational red shift, which is one of the central predictions of the general theory of relativity established by Albert Einstein 100 years ago.
This prediction states that gravity – in this case the gravitational force of the Earth – influences time. For example, a clock placed at the top of a tower will run faster than a clock placed at the bottom due to the lower gravitational force it experiences.
The experiment providing the most precise data so far for the proof of the gravitational red shift took place in 1978. Two identical clocks were placed at a distance of 10,000 kilometers – one on Earth and one on a rocket.
In contrast to this one‐off experiment the Galileo satellites change their height by almost 8,000 kilometers twice a day, providing an enormous amount of data. Compared to the experiment in 1978, Laemmerzahl is expecting to show the effect of red shift with 10 times the precision and without the high costs associated with the design of a new research mission.
Contact person for scientific questions:
Prof. Dr. Claus Laemmerzahl
Contact person for general press inquiries:
+49 421 218-57755
Photo material concerning the topic can be found under the following link: https://www.zarm.uni-bremen.de/pressmedia/single-view/article/errant-galileo-sat...
Birgit Kinkeldey | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season
09.11.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Far fewer lakes below the East Antarctic Ice Sheet than previously believed
08.11.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding