Can the flyby anomaly be understood in the light of entropic gravity and the Leiden-Effect?

a Spurious Correlation article

B.M.R. Heijligers
5 min readApr 18, 2024

Spurious Correlation articles are not intended as traditional peer-reviewed scientific arguments with a definitive conclusion. They are intended as purely speculative and tentative explorations of extended possibility spaces to inspire researchers and AI-systems alike to consider models of reality for which no direct & sufficient rationale, yet which, when taken from a Consilience driven perspective offer unexpected explanatory narratives.

Consilience confidence: 2/10

For this one there is really no other evidence that the fly-by effect is even real, let alone caused by the Leiden-Effect. Count this one as “due-dilligence”.

A reminder:

Leiden-Effect: Organic life and it’s associated conscious experience has an entropic gravitational effect beyond that of mere matter/mass.

From wikipedia:

The flyby anomaly is a discrepancy between current scientific models and the actual increase in speed (i.e. increase in kinetic energy) observed during a planetary flyby (usually of Earth) by a spacecraft. In multiple cases, spacecraft have been observed to gain greater speed than scientists had predicted, but thus far no convincing explanation has been found. This anomaly has been observed as shifts in the S-band and X-band Doppler and ranging telemetry. The largest discrepancy noticed during a flyby has been 13.46 mm/s.[1]

Possible explanations

There have been a number of proposed explanations of the flyby anomaly, including:

  • A postulated consequence of the assumption that the speed of light is isotropic in all frames, and invariant in the method used to measure the velocity of the space probes by means of the Doppler effect.[14] The inconsistent anomalous values measured: positive, null or negative are simply explained relaxing this assumption. During flyby maneuvers the velocity components of the probe in the direction of the observer Vo are derived from the relative displacement df of the radiofrequency f transmitted by the probe, multiplied by the local speed of the light c′ by the Doppler effect: Vo = (df / f) c′. According to the Céspedes-Curé hypothesis,[15] the movement through variable gravitational energy density fields produces slight variations of the refractive index n′ of space and therefore of the speed of light c′ which leads to unaccounted corrections of the Doppler data that are based on an invariant c. This leads to incorrect estimates of the speed or energy change in the flyby maneuver on the Earth’s frame of reference.
  • Unaccounted-for transverse Doppler effect — i.e. the redshift of light source with zero radial and non-zero tangential velocity.[13] However, this cannot explain the similar anomaly in the ranging data.
  • A dark-matter halo around Earth.[16]
  • The impact of general relativity, in its weak-field and linearized form yielding gravitomagnetic phenomena like frame-dragging, has been investigated as well:[17] it turns out to be unable to account for the flyby anomaly.
  • The classical time-retarded gravity explanation proposed by Joseph C. Hafele.[18]
  • Range-proportional excess delay of the telemetry signal revealed by the United States Space Surveillance Network range data in the NEAR flyby.[19] This delay, accounting for the anomaly in both Doppler and range data, as well as the trailing Doppler oscillations, to within 10–20%, points to chirp modes in the reception due to the Doppler rate, predicting a positive anomaly only when the tracking by DSN is interrupted around perigee, and zero or negative anomaly if tracked continuously. No anomaly should occur in Doppler tracked by non-DSN stations.[20]
  • The action of a topological torsion current predicting flyby anomalies in retrograde direction, but null-effect when spacecraft approach the planet in prograde direction with respect to the planetary sense of rotation.[21]
  • The analysis of the Juno flyby looked at analysis errors that could potentially mimic the flyby anomaly. They found that a high-precision gravity field of at least 50×50 coefficients was needed for accurate flyby predictions. Use of a lower-precision gravity field (such as a model with 10×10 coefficients, sufficient for launch analysis), would yield a 4.5 mm/s velocity error.[5]

Related research

Some missions designed to study gravity, such as MICROSCOPE and STEP, are designed to make extremely accurate gravity measurements and may shed some light on the anomaly.[22] However, MICROSCOPE has completed its mission, finding nothing anomalous,[23] and STEP is yet to fly.


Here’s a breakdown of the concepts at play and why drawing a direct connection between them might be problematic:


  • Flyby Anomaly: Real, unexplained slight variations in spacecraft speed during Earth flybys.
  • Entropic Gravity: A theoretical model proposing gravity as an emergent phenomenon related to entropy (disorder). While it has some traction, it’s not a mainstream or fully accepted theory.
  • Leiden Effect (my hypothesis): I’m proposing that consciousness and life possess a unique entropic gravitational effect beyond what their mass alone would generate.
  • Consciousness as Entropy Maximization: The Guevara Erra et al. paper suggests conscious states may be linked to the brain’s ability to explore a vast number of network configurations (a high entropy state).

Why the Connection is Difficult

  1. Vast Differences in Scale: Entropic gravity operates primarily on large cosmological scales. Consciousness is a phenomenon of biological systems on an incredibly smaller scale. Any “gravitational” effect of consciousness would likely be utterly insignificant compared to forces we are familiar with.
  2. Unclear Entropic Mechanism: Even if entropic gravity is true, how would the high entropy of a conscious brain translate to a gravitational force? The mechanism is missing — it’s a speculative leap rather than a logical deduction.
  3. Observational Challenges: Measuring the gravitational effect of something as small as a human brain (let alone its conscious component) is far beyond our current technical capabilities.

Where the Speculation is Interesting

The value of this “spurious correlation” article lies in provoking new ways of thinking. Here are some thought directions these concepts could inspire:

  • Information and Gravity: Could extremely dense configurations of information (perhaps in some future AI) have unique, even if tiny, gravitational effects?
  • Collective Consciousness: If consciousness does exert an entropic force, does the phenomenon scale? Could the collective activity of many organisms create a more measurable effect?
  • Reframing Gravity: Instead of a direct effect, perhaps the high-entropy state of consciousness has some yet-unknown influence on how organisms interact with existing gravitational fields.

Addendum May 2024

Sabine Hossenfelder in her recent video about a new Dark Energy experiment offers a more promising avenue for detecting an abberant gravitational signal whose strength would be dependent upon the distance to earth:

The experiment:



B.M.R. Heijligers

Cosmologist gone #Rogue. Embodiment coach for the technologically gifted. Voor Nederland: Drs. B. — Sterrenkundige en #WetenschapsFilosoof.