The Earth, Mars, Sun, Jupiter system allows for a sensitive test of the strong equivalence principle (SEP) which is qualitatively different from that provided by Lunar Laser Ranging. Using analytic and numerical methods we demonstrate that Earth-Mars ranging can provide a useful estimate of the SEP parameter $\eta$. Two estimates of the predicted accuracy are derived and quoted, one based on conventional covariance analysis, and another (called ``modified worst case'' analysis) which assumes that systematic errors dominate the experiment. If future Mars missions provide ranging measurements with an accuracy of $\sigma$ meters, after ten years of ranging the expected accuracy for the SEP parameter $\eta$ will be of order $(1-12)\times 10^{-4}\sigma$. These ranging measurements will also provide the most accurate determination of the mass of Jupiter, independent of the SEP effect test. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas.)

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Also archived at: arXiv:gr-qc/9510029 v1 16 Oct 1995 MG acknowledges the partial support by an AWU-JPL sabbatical fellowship. KLN was supported in part by National Aeronautic and Space Administration throughout Contract NASW-4840. SGT was supported by National Research Council, Resident Research Associateship award. This work was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with National Aeronautic and Space Administration.ISSN:1538-4357 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


RIT – Main Campus