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MICROSCOPE Mission: First Results of a Space Test of the Equivalence Principle

Abstract : According to the weak equivalence principle, all bodies should fall at the same rate in a gravitational field. The MICROSCOPE satellite, launched in April 2016, aims to test its validity at the 10−15 precision level, by measuring the force required to maintain two test masses (of titanium and platinum alloys) exactly in the same orbit. A nonvanishing result would correspond to a violation of the equivalence principle, or to the discovery of a new long-range force. Analysis of the first data gives δ(Ti; Pt)=[-1+/-9(stat)+/-9(syst)] × 10−15 (1σ statistical uncertainty) for the titanium-platinum Eötvös parameter characterizing the relative difference in their free-fall accelerations.
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Pierre Touboul, Gilles Métris, Manuel Rodrigues, Yves André, Quentin Baghi, et al.. MICROSCOPE Mission: First Results of a Space Test of the Equivalence Principle. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2017, 119 (23), page 231101-1 - 231101-7. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.231101⟩. ⟨hal-01705427⟩

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