There's a lot of things that appear funny in the lab. So, devise experiments explicitly designed to test The Funny. Here we have a case where The Funny led to people, rather than thoroughly going through known science and engineering (1970s computer graphics!) or coming up with a good test, just stampeding towards new physical law.
The Voyagers flew a mission profile similar to the Pioneers, but were not spin stabilized. Instead, they required frequent firings of their thrusters for attitude control to stay aligned with Earth. Spacecraft like the Voyagers acquire small and unpredictable changes in speed as a side effect of the frequent attitude control firings. This 'noise' makes it impractical to measure small accelerations such as the Pioneer effect; accelerations as small as 10−9 m/s2 would be undetectable.
In particular, Phong shading has allowed the Portuguese team to include for the first time the effect of heat emitted from a part of the spacecraft called the main equipment compartment. It turns out that heat from the back wall of this compartment is reflected from the back of the spacecraft's antenna (see diagram above).
This method provides a simple and straightforward way of modeling the various components of reﬂection, as well as a more accurate accounting of the thermal radiation exchanges between the surfaces on the Pioneer spacecraft.
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