Are artificial satellites orbits influenced by an expanding Earth?

G. Scalera


Albeit in the past great theoretical and experimental efforts were made in proposing and searching for G time-decreasing, a major role could be played by an increase of M. A recent analysis (Scalera, 2003a) converges toward an upper limit of the Earths mass variation in the order of magnitude of M/M=10-9 /yr. It is here discussed the possible role that can be played by parameters linked to the expanding Earth in the effects we observe in the orbital motion of the artificial satellites. The important result in this short note is the discrimination between the reality of the glacial rebound process and/or the relaxation of the 100m excess of equatorial bulge testified by the high rate of j2 , and the improbable role that glacial rebound can have in driving PM and TPW. It is recommended that the new technology of drag-free satellites be used (Gravity-Probe B is the first step) to reveal possible residual orbital parameter variations ascribable to formerly unrecognized fictitious drag terms due to Earth radial increase.

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X