Einstein was right: Observations from NASA’s Gravity Probe B have confirmed that the Earth really does warp time and space around it. The probe contained four perfectly engineered gyroscopes, and took incredibly precise measurements of their spin axes, expecting the curve of space-time around the Earth to cause predictable deviations. It did, though the changes were incredibly minute, on the order of just a few thousand milliarcseconds—a milliarcsecond being the width of a human hair seen at a distance of 10 miles, the BBC explains.
The results stem from a 52-year, $750 million project, the New York Times reports. Thirteen new technologies were invented for the GP-B, and the spheres within it are believed to be the roundest objects ever manufactured. The innovations have led to direct improvements in GPS. Roughly 100 students earned PhDs working on some facet of the probe. “We've completed this landmark experiment, testing Einstein's Universe,” said the mission’s principle investigator—who has been on the case since 1962. “And Einstein survives.” Click to read more about this fascinating discovery. (Read more gravity stories.)