According to general relativity, the gravitomagnetic Lense Thirring force of Mars would secularly shift the orbital plane of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft by an amount of 1.5 m, on average, in the cross-track direction over 5 years. The determined cross-track post-fit residuals of MGS, built up by neglecting just the gravitomagnetic force in the dynamical force models and without fitting any empirical cross-track acceleration which could remove the relativistic signal, amount to 1.6 m, on average, over a 5 year time interval spanning from 10 February 2000 to 14 January 2005. The discrepancy with the predictions of general relativity is, thus, about 6%.
Classical and Quantum Gravity
- Pub Date:
- September 2006
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology;
- Latex, 6 pages, 1 figure, 1 table. Accepted for publication in Classical and Quantum Gravity