I WRITE ESSAYs
CHAPTER 11: WHAT IS THE “PIONEER ANOMALY” ??
“I had too much stuff … my machines came from too far away” —Richard Feynman, re the failure of his presentation at the Pocono Manor Conference, March+April 1948
Recently I was explaining Dr. Simhony’s theory to an individual who had expressed interest in it, and he asked me: “Is there any proof of this ??” This prompted me to tell him about the so called “Pioneer anomaly” — and also to realize that I might want to say something about it in my book. This essay is the result.
Many years ago, starting in the early 1970s, the folks at NASA [National Aeronautics & Space Administration] launched a series of spacecraft toward other planets in our solar system, to learn more about them, and about some of their moons.
They eventually launched more than a dozen spacecraft in two programs known as Pioneer and Voyager. Though these missions were very successful, at least four of them, (Pioneers 10 + 11, and Voyagers 1 + 2), became notorious for an interesting reason, which became known as “the Pioneer anomaly.”
It seems that, as the spacecraft went farther and farther from earth, the radio signals which they sent back to earth started arriving sooner than expected. Not by much: only by a tiny fraction of a second, but enough to alert scientists that something unexpected and unpredicted was happening.
Why would the radio signals arrive too soon ?? Were the spacecraft moving more slowly than expected, for some unknown reason ?? Many individuals in the physics community became passionate in their efforts to learn the reason for this “anomaly”. According to a book published in 2008, “every month, one or two new papers appear that espouse some exotic explanation for the Pioneer anomaly” [p.42, Ref.#37: Thirteen Things That Don’t Make Sense (2008) by Michael Brooks].
It seems that most of the folks who have tried to solve this mystery have automatically assumed what NASA engineers assumed (that the spacecraft are moving more slowly than expected), when there is an obvious second possibility: perhaps radio signals move a bit faster in the more “empty” regions of our solar system out beyond the large planets, as Dr. Simhony says.
This is what the Pioneer anomaly is all about: it’s a current mystery ** in physics, which the standard model can’t explain, because the standard model (as many physicists interpret it) says that the speed of light (and radio signals) in a vacuum is exactly the same, everywhere in our universe.
** NOTE: though one knows that several years ago a team of researchers published a paper which is supposed to be the “definitive” explanation for the anomaly, based on ONE of the space craft slowing down due to the actions of some on-board systems which were designed for a different purpose, one does not believe this explanation, in the same sense that one does not generally believe government lies.
The fact that our scientists have astoundingly accurate electronic technology, enabling them to measure the tiny time differences involved, is a tribute to their amazing intelligence and skill. But the explanation for the “mystery” might be more simple than expected, if Dr. Simhony’s model is correct.
As already mentioned: the model predicts that in a region of space which is emptier (less dust, gas, etc.), the binding energy, (and therefore the “stiffness”), of the local epo-lattice will be slightly greater, and the speed of radio signals out there will also be slightly greater, because a stiffer lattice will conduct radio signals slightly faster.
As it says on the “Simhony tribute” web-site, with some nice brightly colored schematic diagrams: “Test data of the Shapiro effect … exactly validates the EPOLA-model prediction that light [and radio signals] traveling in the less dense, expanded, EPOLA, near massive objects will be reduced in speed … the Speed of Light in a vacuum is NOT constant !”
Plus: “If this is the case, then the reverse ought also to be true … [radio signals] traveling in deep space at distances far remote from our sun should travel FASTER, due to the more densely packed, elastically stiffer, properties of the EPOLA in this region of the universe … the bewildering Pioneer 10 and 11 anomaly, where radio-signals were returning to earth TOO SOON [i.e., sooner than expected], has been solved! Without Simhony’s model, some scientists have gone so far as to consider that the law of gravity as we know it [might] be wrong.”
From the same internet-site: “Google ‘Pioneer Anomaly’ and you will be amazed at the bewilderment of scientists all over the world when not ONE but TWO different spacecraft began doing the same thing as they proceeded further and further out into deep space” [ http://simhonytribute.webs.com/ ].
So it looks like NASA has provided some unexpected support for Dr.Simhony’s model. As Dr. Brooks says in his book, quoted above, the Pioneer anomaly “might [be] a sign of impending crisis … our current picture of the cosmos might have to change in the near future” [p.45, Ref.#37].
The “impending crisis” in physics has been growing for > 80 years, ever since the folks who developed what we now call “the standard model” decided to officially discontinue the idea of “ether” or “aether” or any kind of ether-like substance in our universe. Since the 1930s, professors in university physics departments, world-wide, have taught grad-students that there is no ether or ether-like substance in our universe.
In 1997 Dr. Girard t’Hooft published a book titled In Search of the Ultimate Building Blocks. Based on my reading, and also on seeing him in a youtube video, I feel that t’Hooft is one of the more open-minded of the mainstream” physicists. In 1999 he shared a Nobel prize with Dr. Martin Veltman: below is a quote from p.75 in his 1997 book [Ref.#40]:
“Veltman was very skeptical … it was not easy to convince him that what we call empty space is actually filled with invisible particles … He said [that these would] betray their presence by their gravitational fields.”
Exactly !! Simhony says that the “invisible particles” which fill space, (to which d’Hooft refers in the quote directly above, and which Simhony calls “epola”), are the cause of gravity, exactly as the mysterious “Higgs bosons” are supposed (by standard model believers) to be. Though they themselves do not have any weight, and therefore do not “betray their presence by their gravitational fields,” yet they “gift” [Simhony’s word] gravitational fields [i.e., “weight”] to everything else. Exactly as the “Higgs field” is supposed to do. Perhaps they are equivalent ??
Betraying his own lack of familiarity with Simhony’s model, Dr. t’Hooft continues: Exactly how nature does manage to mask these gravity effects so efficiently and completely that we fail to notice anything at all is a mystery” [p.75, Ref. 40].
Perhaps Dr. Simhony has already solved this mystery ??
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Please note that one can also use Simhony’s model explain why the standard model seems to imply that the expansion-rate of our universe is increasing, as two international teams of collaborating scientists announced during 1998.
As I understand it, this theory is based on the idea that the average observed redshifts of the older galaxies in our universe, as well as that of the younger ones, is slightly greater than one would expect them to be based on their distance from us, when compared with that of the “middle-aged” galaxies. This unexpected discovery implies that our universe’s expansion-rate was slowing down during the first half of its lifetime, reached a minimum approximately 5 or 6 billion years ago, and has been increasing since then.
The main reason why scientists observe redshifts is because the distances between our home galaxy and most of the other galaxies is increasing, due mainly to the fact that our entire universe is expanding. If the expansion rate increases, then this will cause the redshift, too, to increase. Conversely, if a galaxy is moving away from us at a slower rate of speed, then its observed redshift will be less. Given that the redshifted light which astronomers observe from a distant galaxy actually started on its journey to us several billion years ago, this means that a smaller redshift implies a smaller recession-speed at the time when the light was emitted. The fact that observations indicate that smaller-than-expected redshifts are associated with middle-aged galaxies therefore implies that, at the time when that light was emitted, the expansion-rate of our universe was at a minimum.
Of course, this line of reasoning does not hold true if the speed of light was different in the past than it is now, as Simhony’s model implies. Why would the speed of light be different in the past ?? For the same reason that the speed of radio-signals would be different in the regions beyond planet Pluto: because the epo-lattice out there is slightly more dense than it is on planet Earth, so that radio-signals out there move slightly faster.
Likewise: when our universe was young, it occupied a much smaller volume of space than it occupies today, so that volume of space was more crowded, on the average, than space today. So the epo-lattice [epola] in that volume was less dense, and light moved through it more slowly, which would imply less redshift. I always get confused here, when I think about this issue, and I reckon that some of my readers, too, become confused if they think about this issue, and will therefore disagree. Plus, I admit that my line-of-reasoning might be incorrect. Still, I feel that the standard model’s assumption that the speed of light was always the same as it is now might explain why some of the smartest scientists in the known universe might have come up with an incorrect theory; namely, that the expansion-rate of our universe is presently increasing.
Please email questions, comments, criticisms, etc., to me at:
Sincerely, 21 October 2017, Chandler, Arizona, USA
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