BY KELSEY WAANANEN
ANCHOR ALEX HOLLEY
You're watching multisource science video news analysis from Newsy.
How much time would you spend to prove Einstein was a genius? Hope fifty years and $750 million doesn’t sound like too large of a commitment-- because that’s exactly what it took a Stanford team to prove Einstein’s theory of relativity. The Wall Street Journal offers an explanation of the theory.
“Briefly, a refresher. Time and space, according to Einstien's theories of relativity are woven together into a 4-dimensional fabric called Space-Time. The mass of Earth dimples this fabric, much like a heavy person sitting on a trampoline. Gravity Einstein says, is simply the motion of objects following the curving lines of the dimple.”
NASA-funded Gravity Probe B officially launched in 2004 and did prove that Earth makes a big ol’ dent in the fabric of space. However, Sky and Telescope say-- didn’t we already have this figured out?
“The truth is, we did. The [laser geodynamic] satellites, lunar ranging, the Cassini mission’s radio experiment, and binary pulsars, to name just a few, have all verified general relativity — including these two particular predictions — sometimes to much higher accuracy than Gravity Probe B.”
That being the case, Discovery asks -- was this worth it?
“In an especially budget-conscious era, that's a legitimate concern, as so many worthy projects lie fallow from lack of available funding. Detractors of Gravity Probe B no doubt question whether those funds might have been better spent on exploring new physics, rather than confirming Einstein.”
But the former project manager has an answer to that -- this project will live on.
“I would also say 'look, even if you're not interested in the science result, even if you're not interested in the educational result, the hundred PhDs and so on. Then at least you ought to believe that the technologies that were invented during the course of Gravity Probe B's development will pay dividends -- economic and scientific dividends for decades to come.”
And PCWorld notes- this project marks a new beginning for science.
“As if proving one of Einstein’s theories wasn’t enough, it’s interesting to note that this study was taken up by hundreds of young scientists across the US, including some high school students. It’s exciting to see such involvement in the next generation of great minds. It speaks volumes for impressive things still to come from science.”
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