James Battat, Physics, “APOLLO: Millimeter Lunar Laser Ranging”

Posted September 12th, 2012 at 2:01 pm.

in Classical and Quantum Gravity, 29 (18), IOP Science, August 15, 2012:

Lunar laser ranging (LLR) has for decades stood at the forefront of tests of gravitational physics, including tests of the equivalence principle (EP). Current LLR results on the EP achieve a sensitivity of Δa/a ≈ 10^{−13} based on few-centimeter data/model fidelity. A recent push in LLR, called APOLLO (the Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation) produces millimeter-quality data. This paper demonstrates the few-millimeter range precision achieved by APOLLO, leading to an expectation that LLR will be able to extend EP sensitivity by an order-of-magnitude to Δa/a ~ 10^{−14}, once modeling efforts improve to this level.

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