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Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Dec 31;93(26 Pt 1):261101. Epub 2004 Dec 29.

Progress in lunar laser ranging tests of relativistic gravity.

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Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91109, USA.


Analyses of laser ranges to the Moon provide increasingly stringent limits on any violation of the equivalence principle (EP); they also enable several very accurate tests of relativistic gravity. These analyses give an EP test of Delta(MG/MI)EP=(-1.0+/-1.4) x 10(-13). This result yields a strong equivalence principle (SEP) test of Delta(MG/MI)SEP=(-2.0+/-2.0) x 10(-13). Also, the corresponding SEP violation parameter eta is (4.4+/-4.5) x 10(-4), where eta=4beta-gamma-3 and both beta and gamma are post-Newtonian parameters. Using the Cassini gamma, the eta result yields beta-1=(1.2+/-1.1) x 10(-4). The geodetic precession test, expressed as a relative deviation from general relativity, is Kgp=-0.0019+/-0.0064. The search for a time variation in the gravitational constant results in G /G=(4+/-9) x 10(-13) yr(-1); consequently there is no evidence for local (approximately 1 AU) scale expansion of the solar system.

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