I have just received the news letter below, which I fully reproduce for your convenience. I am particularly glad to read that the program continues, and I am quite interested to learn about their peer-reviewed report, which will be released after the upcoming workshop on “The Nature of Gravity: Confronting Theory and Experiment in Space”. (I could not find the link to the workshop’s homepage).
The news and other information of interest follow below.
GP-B STATUS UPDATE — September 26, 2008
Since our May 23rd status update, GP-B has continued to make significant progress–fiscal and scientific. NASA funding and sponsorship of the program ends on September 30, 2008, but GP-B has secured alternative funding that will enable our science team to continue working at least through December 2009 in order to complete the data analysis and bring GP-B to a proper close.
The GP-B science team is continuing to make large strides in the data analysis. On Friday, August 29, 2008, the 18th meeting of our external GP-B Science Advisory Committee was held at Stanford to report our progress since the previous SAC meeting in November 2007. The ensuing SAC report to NASA states:
“The progress reported at SAC-18 was truly extraordinary and we
commend the GPB team for this achievement. This has been a heroic
effort, and has brought the experiment from what seemed like a state
of potential failure, to a position where the SAC now believes that they
will obtain a credible test of relativity, even if the accuracy does not
meet the original goal. In the opinion of the SAC Chair, this rescue
warrants comparison with the mission to correct the flawed optics
of the Hubble Space Telescope, only here at a minuscule fraction
of the cost.” –SAC #18 Report to NASA
On October 6-10, six GP-B team members have been invited to present these dramatically improved, interim results at an International Space Science Institute (ISSI) workshop on “The Nature of Gravity: Confronting Theory and Experiment in Space” to be held in Bern, Switzerland. Following the Berne workshop, these improved interim results will undergo a thorough peer-review and vetting; then towards the end of this year, we plan to announce them publicly.
We very much appreciate your continued interest in GP-B, and we will keep you posted on our progress in future status updates.
PREVIOUS GP-B UPDATES
If you wish to read any of our previous updates, our GP-B Web site includes a chronological archive of all the updates/highlights (with photos and drawings) that we have posted over the past 8 years: http://einstein.stanford.edu/highlights/hlindexmain.html
OTHER LINKS THAT MAY INTEREST YOU
* Our NEW AND IMPROVED GP-B Web site, http://einstein.stanford.edu contains lots of information about the Gravity Probe B experiment, general relativity, and the amazing technologies that were developed to carry out this experiment.
* Video and/or audio of May 18, 2006 public lecture by Principal Investigator, Professor Francis Everitt, on GP-B. You can view a Flash video of the lecture in your Web browser: http://einstein.stanford.edu/Media/Everitt_Brainstorm-flash.html You can also download either a video or audio only copy of the lecture to an iPod from the Stanford University iTunes U Web site: http://itunes.stanford.edu, This Web page automatically launches the Apple iTunes program on both Macintosh and Windows computers, with a special Stanford on iTunes U “music store,” containing free downloads of Stanford lectures, performances, and events. Francis Everitt’s “Testing Einstein in Space” lecture is located in the Faculty Lectures section. People with audio-only iPods can download the version under the Audio tab; people with 5th generation (video) iPodfs can download the version under the Video tab.
* Visual tour of the GP-B spacecraft and payload from our GP-B Web site: http://einstein.stanford.edu/content/vehicle_tour/index.html
* PDF file containing a 1/20 scale, paper model of the GP-B spacecraft that you can download print out, and assemble: http://einstein.stanford.edu/content/paper_model.
* NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center also has a series of Web pages devoted to GP-B: http://www.gravityprobeb.com
* The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Cambridge) and York University (Toronto), with contributions from the Observatoire de Paris, have been studying the motions of the guide star, IM Pegasi for over a decade. To find out more, visit: http://www.yorku.ca/bartel/guidestar/. In addition, you’ll find information in the Extraordinary Technologies page-Telescope & Guide Star section on our Web site: http://einstein.stanford.edu/TECH/technology1.html#telescope
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