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Science Facts

GP-B: More Than Just a Pretty Face

by NASA Headquarters and

Among the biggest challenges for GP-B is keeping its Science Instrument Assembly constantly cooled to a temperature of 1.8 Kelvin, or minus 271.4 degrees Celsius (slightly above absolute zero), which will last 18 to 24 months.: Image Courtesy NASA Questions about the ways space, time, light and gravity relate to each other have been asked for eons. Theories have been offered, yet many puzzles remain to be solved. No spacecraft ever built has required such extreme demands on technology and testing. Scientists and engineers have worked tirelessly for more than 40 years developing new technologies just for this mission. Gravity Probe B is

Also, Gravity Probe B sports the world's most spherical gyroscopes. Measuring the curvature (geodetic effect) and

GP-B was built in a class 10 clean room, so the entire craft wouldn't be subject to particles larger than a single micron that could disturb the delicate components. If Albert Einstein were alive today he'd be relaxing in his easy chair, pipe in hand, very calmly awaiting the results of this historic mission and probaby marveling at the technology it takes to probe his 89 year-old theory.