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Abstract: Radio-metric Doppler tracking data received from the Pioneer 10 and 11spacecraft from heliocentric distances of 20-70 AU has consistently indicatedthe presence of a small, anomalous, blue-shifted frequency drift uniformlychanging with a rate of ~6 x 10^{-9} Hz-s. Ultimately, the drift wasinterpreted as a constant sunward deceleration of each particular spacecraft atthe level of a P = 8.74 +- 1.33 x 10^{-10} m-s^2. This apparent violation ofthe Newton-s gravitational inverse-square law has become known as the Pioneeranomaly; the nature of this anomaly remains unexplained. In this review, wesummarize the current knowledge of the physical properties of the anomaly andthe conditions that led to its detection and characterization. We reviewvarious mechanisms proposed to explain the anomaly and discuss the currentstate of efforts to determine its nature. A comprehensive new investigation ofthe anomalous behavior of the two Pioneers has begun recently. The new effortsrely on the much-extended set of radio-metric Doppler data for both spacecraftin conjunction with the newly available complete record of their telemetryfiles and a large archive of original project documentation. As the new studyis yet to report its findings, this review provides the necessary backgroundfor the new results to appear in the near future. In particular, we provide asignificant amount of information on the design, operations and behavior of thetwo Pioneers during their entire missions, including descriptions of variousdata formats and techniques used for their navigation and radio-science dataanalysis. As most of this information was recovered relatively recently, it wasnot used in the previous studies of the Pioneer anomaly, but it is critical forthe new investigation.

Autor: Slava G. Turyshev, Viktor T. Toth


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