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The ministep experiment

Lockerbie, N.A. (1998) The ministep experiment. Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements, 61 (3). pp. 3-5. ISSN 0920-5632

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Abstract

As currently conceived, the proposed MiniSTEP experiment is designed to test, with an accuracy of 1 part in 1018, the equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass. Within the experimental payload concentric pairs of test masses, made from different materials, will be in 'free fall' as they orbit around the Earth inside a drag-free spacecraft. Any violation of the Equivalence Principle will be disclosed during the experiment by the existence of a differential acceleration between the masses comprising each pair, as detected by SQUID-based sensors. Four pairs of masses are to be used, each pair forming a differential accelerometer. The experiment will employ existing space technology and cryogenic techniques in order to reach this unprecedented level of accuracy.