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I think we are about to discover something novel in physics. It seems like the scientists are struggling to identify this unknown force. I really hope
it does not turn out to be some technical problem in the crafts. I guess the scientists know better.
They have ruled out most of the probable explanations, some of which are, "...gravity from Kuiper belt, gravity from the Galaxy, spacecraft ”gas
leaks”, anisotropic heat (coming from the RTGs) reflection off of the back of the spacecraft high-gain antennae..., radiation of the power of the
main-bus electrical systems from the rear of the craft..., errors in the planetary ephemeris, and errors in the accepted values of the Earth’s
orientation, precession, and nutation, as well as nongravitational effects such as solar radiation pressure, precessional attitudecontrol maneuvers
and a possible nonisotropic thermal radiation due to the Pu238 radioactive thermal
generators"(
Link).
And now, they are considering dark matter, a new "side" of gravity, extra dimensions*...wow!
* -
Here is a paper that talks about five dimensional gravity and its possible effects on Pioneer
spacecrafts.
"In induced gravity theory the solution of the dynamics equations for the test
particle on null path leads to additional force in four-dimensional space-time. We
find such force from five-dimensional geodesic line equations and try to apply this
approach to analysis of additional acceleration of Pioneer 10/11, using properties
of the asymmetrically warped space-time."
Here is another one on the same topic.
"In Klein geometric model of space the mass is manifestation of the quantized charges oscillations in additional compactified dimension. We analyze
model in which common in four-dimensional space-time for mass and electric charge of the particle trajectory is disintegrated in five dimensions on
movement of the mass along null geodesic line and trajectory of the charge corresponding to the time-like interval in 5D volume. We find relation
between five-velocity vector of electric charge and mass. This scheme is regarded to have concern with many worlds theory. Considered approach is
applied to the model of rotating space having four-dimensional spherical symmetry. One proposed appearance additional force in included 4D space-time,
which may be explanation of the Pioneer-effect. We analyze also possible part of this force in conservation of the substance in Galaxy area."