Far out at the edges of the solar system, the motions of two spacecraft, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, appear to be breaking all known laws of physics.
Some mysterious source of energy is causing them to speed up. They are millions of miles apart, but both of them are experiencing the same tiny amount of acceleration. It is no more than a billionth of a metre per second every second, but its cumulative effect has put them 300,000 miles further from Earth than Newton’s laws say they should be after 35 years of cruising.
The article, of course, overly dramatizes the finding, and I immediately spotted one potential flaw in the article.
...its cumulative effect has put them 300,000 miles further from Earth than Newton’s laws say they should be after 35 years of cruising.
Well, of course the craft are further away than Newton’s laws say they should be. At the speeds they are traveling relativistic effects could account for the discrepancy. A quick Google search turned up several articles explaining the crafts’ acceleration using conventional physics, including this one from 2003, which explains the gravitational attraction of the dust in the Kuiper Belt accounts for the acceleration.
If I found this in a few minutes you’d think a writer for Astronomy Now could do the same. I’m seriously thinking about going back to college even at my age and getting a degree in Astronomy so I can land a job as a science writer.