Research Article

A Free-Fall Determination of the Newtonian Constant of Gravity

Science  18 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5397, pp. 2230-2234
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5397.2230

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Abstract

Recent determinations of the Newtonian constant of gravity have produced values that differ by nearly 40 times their individual error estimates (more than 0.5%). In an attempt to help resolve this situation, an experiment that uses the gravity field of a one-half metric ton source mass to perturb the trajectory of a free-falling mass and laser interferometry to track the falling object was performed. This experiment does not suspend the test mass from a support system. It is therefore free of many systematic errors associated with supports. The measured value was G = (6.6873 ± 0.0094) × 10−11 m3 kg−1sec−2.

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