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Astrophysics Luncheon Seminar

Testing the Equivalence Principle in Space with MICROSCOPE
Presented by Joel Bergé
Office National d´Etudes et Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA) - Châtillon Center

Monday, October 14, 2013
12:00 noon in 169-336

Abstract
The weak equivalence principle (WEP), which states that bodies free-fall independently of their internal structure, is a corner stone of General Relativity. Several experiments have allowed physicists to test it successfully down to an accuracy of a few 10-13. However, new theories are emerging, their development being fueled by the observation of the accelerated expansion of the Universe, and by attempts to merge General Relativity and Quantum Physics. A number of those new theories predict a violation of the WEP around 10-14 or below. Improving the accuracy of WEP tests is therefore becoming crucial to confront those theories with reality.

MICROSCOPE (Micro-Satellite à traînée Compensée pour l´Observation du Principe d´Equivalence – French for Drag-free micro-satellite for the observation of the Equivalence Principle) is a satellite currently under development by ONERA and CNES, and will fly in a few years. Its aim is to test the WEP in orbit down to an accuracy of 10-15. In this talk, I will present MICROSCOPE. I will first motivate its scientific goal, then I will describe the mission, before giving an update on the development of the science instrument.

JPL Contact: Jason Rhodes


SVCP Astrophysics


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