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Gravitational test. Learn from the experience

Gravitational test. Learn from the experience


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Does gravity have a magnetic counterpart? Spin an electric charge and you will have a magnetic field. Turn a mass and, according to Einstein, you would have a very slight effect, similar to magnetism. This effect is supposed to be so small that it is beyond practical experience and even beyond instrumental measurement. At least until April 2004.

In a reckless attempt to directly measure gravitomagnetism, NASA launched the smoothest spheres ever manufactured into space to see how they spin. These four spheres, each about the size of a ping-pong ball, are the key to the high precision gyros of the Gravitational Test B (Gravity Probe B).

Will gyroscopes detect gravitomagnetism and will wobble at the speed predicted by Einstein? A better understanding of space, time and gravity can bring us long-term and probably short-term benefits, such as better clocks and global positioning devices.

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