Deep Space Mystery Solved Using 1970s Computer Graphics Technique

Extra-solar probes Pioneer 10 and 11 have been confusing astrophysicists for the last decade: they're slowing down a lot more than we'd expected as they're leaving the solar system. The slowing has become know as the "Pioneer Anomaly." (But you probably know it by the popular formula, "Ol' (8.74±1.33)×10^−10 ms^−2".)

Scientists working out of Lisbon have discovered that the spacecraft might not be slowing as much as we thought-we've just been measuring them incorrectly. And they did it by modeling the heat dissipation off the craft using Phong shading, a 3D graphics technique that dates all the way back to the ‘70s. [TechnologyReview.com]

Image: Forsvarets Forskningsinstitutt