[1203.2150] Lunar Laser Ranging Tests of the Equivalence Principle

Authors: James G. Williams, Slava G. Turyshev, Dale Boggs

Date: 9 Mar 2012

Abstract: The Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) experiment provides precise observations of the lunar orbit that contribute to a wide range of science investigations. In particular, time series of highly accurate measurements of the distance between the Earth and Moon provide unique information that determine whether, in accordance with the Equivalence Principle (EP), both of these celestial bodies are falling towards the Sun at the same rate, despite their different masses, compositions, and gravitational self-energies. Analyses of precise laser ranges to the Moon continue to provide increasingly stringent limits on any violation of the EP. Current LLR solutions give (-0.8 +/- 1.3) x 10ˆ{-13} for any possible inequality in the ratios of the gravitational and inertial masses for the Earth and Moon, (m_G/m_I)_E - (m_G/m_I)_M. Such an accurate result allows other tests of gravitational theories. Focusing on the tests of the EP, we discuss the existing data and data analysis techniques. The robustness of the LLR solutions is demonstrated with several different approaches to solutions. Additional high accuracy ranges and improvements in the LLR data analysis model will further advance the research of relativistic gravity in the solar system, and will continue to provide highly accurate tests of the Equivalence Principle.

abs pdf

Mar 12, 2012

1203.2150 (/preprints)
2012-03-12, 18:32 [edit]

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