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Relativity Parameters Determined from Lunar Laser RangingAnalysis of 24 years of lunar laser ranging data is used to test the principle of equivalence, geodetic precession, the PPN parameters beta and gamma, and G/G. Recent data can be fitted with a rms scatter of 3 cm. (a) Using the Nordtvedt effect to test the principle of equivalence, it is found that the Moon and Earth accelerate alike in the Sun's field. The relative accelerations match to within 5 x 10(exp -13) . This limit, combined with an independent determination of y from planetary time delay, gives beta. Including the uncertainty due to compositional differences, the parameter beta differs from unity by no more than 0.0014; and, if the weak equivalence principle is satisfied, the difference is no more than 0.0006. (b) Geodetic precession matches its expected 19.2 marc sec/yr rate within 0.7%. This corresponds to a 1% test of gamma. (c) Apart from the Nordtvedt effect, beta and gamma can be tested from their influence on the lunar orbit. It is argued theoretically that the linear combination 0.8(beta) + 1.4(gamma) can be tested at the 1% level of accuracy. For solutions using numerically derived partial derivatives, higher sensitivity is found. Both 6 and y match the values of general relativity to within 0.005, and the linear combination beta+ gamma matches to within 0,003, but caution is advised due to the lack of theoretical understanding of these sensitivities. (d) No evidence for a changing gravitational constant is found, with absolute value of G/G less than or equal to 8 x lO(exp -12)/yr. There is significant sensitivity to G/G through solar perturbations on the lunar orbit.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Williams, J. G. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Newhall, X. X. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Dickey, J. O. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
June 15, 1996
Publication Information
Publication: Physical Review D
Volume: 53
Issue: 12
ISSN: 0556-2821
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Exploration
Distribution Limits