Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

People say we're running out of energy. That's only true if we stick with these old 19th century technologies. We are awash in energy from sunlight.

 

Ray Kurzweil

 

Lisa Pathfinder launches to test space 'ripples' technology

RATE THIS! +23
Posted in Science on 3rd Dec, 2015 05:18 PM by AlexMuller

Lisa Pathfinder will test the technologies needed to detect gravitational waves, the warping of space-time produced by cataclysmic events in the cosmos. Having such a capability would make it possible to detect the merger of monster black holes, a marker for the growth of galaxies through time.

 

Lisa Pathfinder went into orbit on a Vega rocket from French Guiana. It lifted away from the Kourou spaceport at 01:04 local time (04:04 GMT). The satellite is being sent in the direction of the Sun, to a point some 1.5 million km from Earth. The expectation is that the European Space Agency (Esa) mission will operate for about a year.
 
Pathfinder contains just the single instrument, which is designed to measure and maintain a 38cm separation between two small gold-platinum blocks. These "proof masses" will be allowed to free-fall inside the spacecraft, and a laser system will then attempt to monitor their behaviour, looking for path deviations as small as a few picometres. This is well less than the diameter of an atom.
 
Scaled up, it is like tracking the distance between the tops of London's Shard skyscraper and New York's One World Trade Center, and noticing any changes down to just fractions of the width of a human hair. "We use the laser interferometer to bounce light between the proof masses and the optical structure that we built in Glasgow," says Dr Harry Ward from Glasgow University, UK.
 
"We then read out the phase of the laser beams as we recombine them, and motion of the proof mass translates into phase changes in the light - essentially, the light gets brighter or dimmer." While this precision performance is relatively routine in Earth labs, it is very exacting to try to demonstrate it in space.
 
But if Pathfinder can prove the technology, it will pave the way for an even bigger Esa mission in the 2030s that will aim to study gravitational waves.

Tags: spacegravityresearchsatelliteLisa Pathfinderrocketastronomyphysics

Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Business on 2017-09-21 08:16:42
    Google signs $1.1bn HTC smartphone deal..read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-09-21 08:11:40
    US solar plant costs fall another 30 per cent in just one.....read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-09-21 08:04:25
    SpaceX will call global internet satellite network Starlink..read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-09-20 19:05:15
    Google boosts Cloud Natural Language API with automatic.....read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-09-20 18:55:34
    Salesforce to launch $50 million artificial intelligence.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    New terahertz imaging approach could speed up skin cancer.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Rebutting the claim that antidepressants do not work..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Four Earth-sized planets detected orbiting the nearest.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me