A Deep-Space Triangulation Probe To Determine the Astronomical Unit

by George Kocher, Dean T. Jamison

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Classic astronomy and radar ranging of Venus have given conflicting estimates of the astronomical unit. To reconcile these differences, a proposed experiment could determine the distance to a reflective space probe in kilometers (by radar) and in astronomical units (by triangulations). Such a determination would be conceptually independent of the other experiments. This report discusses the sensitivity to error, choice of orbit, methods of measurement, and necessary and desirable instruments.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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