THE EDITOR: As the University of the West Indies starts a new academic year, I wish to report a positive development in our research about which I am quite excited. As has been reported in the past, I have for many years claimed (much to the consternation of some of my colleagues) that Albert Einstein’s celebrated theory of relativity is wrong.
I have done so based on several arguments, the most recent of which is my use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to demonstrate that, contrary to the requirements of the theory, light travels faster West than East on the surface of the Earth.
This research attracted the attention of Prof Eduardo Greaves of the Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela. He along with two of his colleagues invited me to collaborate with them in using my GPS variable-light-speed results to address a major unsolved problem faced by NASA for the past 40 years referred to as the Pioneer Anomaly. This anomaly is an unexpected acceleration of the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecrafts which were launched in the 1970s to study planets in our solar system.
After many unsuccessful attempts at resolving the issue, NASA in 2012 claimed in published work that the anomaly resulted from excess heat emanating from the body of the spacecrafts during their travel through the cosmos, which produced forces that caused the anomalous acceleration. This explanation, referred to as thermal recoil, is widely accepted but cannot be correct for two reasons.
The first is that this thermal recoil model only accounts for the steady component of the acceleration and does not explain the periodic (daily and annual) variations that have been clearly observed and fully documented (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly). This is a glaring shortcoming of the model.
The second is that the NASA model cannot account for a similar problem that has been observed in two other spacecrafts, the Galileo and the Ulysses, because of the differences in structure of these two probes compared with the Pioneer probes.
Our team, led by Greaves, just published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Progress in Physics, October (http://www.ptep-online.com/2021/PP-62-06.PDF), in which we use findings from Greaves’s research on light travelling close to massive bodies and my GPS results on light speed variation to fully explain for the first time all aspects of the anomaly.
Thanks to the brilliant work and insights of Greaves and his colleagues, we believe that we have solved this persistent problem and have succeeded where many others have failed. If our paper stands up to scrutiny (as we expect it will), then it represents further validation of my GPS variable-light-speed results and hence renewed confirmation of my long-standing case against relativity theory.
PROF STEPHAN GIFT