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How important is the research LISA would do if they ever finished building?

  1. Feb 1, 2012 #1
    Is LISA the only option in detecting gravitational waves?

    Anyone have some insider info on the talks about cancelling, going with smaller scales, or just a general update on the situation?

    What else could LISA do other than observe that gravity waves are actually present? and what would it tell us?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2012 #2

    Ryan_m_b

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    It would seem that the NASA/ESA partnership to build LISA has been cancelled though ESA is going ahead with a similar project called eLISA-NGO.
     
  4. Feb 2, 2012 #3
    Why is the US so against scientific research now? Didn't they pass up a chance to have the LHC in the US only bigger?
     
  5. Feb 2, 2012 #4

    Pengwuino

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    It's not that the US is against scientific research. The James Webb Telescope has taken up so much of the funding (by going way over budget) available for astrophysics that programs had to be canceled.
     
  6. Feb 2, 2012 #5

    jtbell

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    Also, as you have probably noticed, there has been a lot of anxiety about government spending, deficits, and debt lately. This has led to great reluctance to spend money on new projects and budget cuts for existing projects, in general.

    (Further discussion along this line belongs in our Politics & World Affairs forum, not here.)
     
  7. Feb 2, 2012 #6
    Ok, I would like to restate my original questions (Sorry, I can sometimes ask alot of them :) )

    Is LISA the only option in detecting gravitational waves?
    What would detecting gravitational waves do for relativity and the search for quantum gravity?

    What else could LISA do other than detect the presence of the waves.
     
  8. Feb 2, 2012 #7

    PAllen

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    I'm not sure about LISA, but gravitational wave astronomy in general could tell us things about interior of neutron stars that could not be determined any other way.

    I am not as sanguine about motivations of people and politicians as Pengwino suggests, but this is absolutely the wrong part of the forum to discuss that.
     
  9. Feb 2, 2012 #8

    Pengwuino

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    As for whether it's the only option, not really, although this may be splitting hairs. LIGO was the earth-based precursor to LISA, but it hasn't seen anything yet. I've always been under the impression that LIGO was always going to be a stepping stone to greater things like LISA and that LIGO was only ever capable of detecting very nearby (in a relative sense), very powerful gravitational activities like supernovae . LISA would be a more sensitive detector to that end.
     
  10. Feb 2, 2012 #9
    I didn't even know it was that big of a deal. Is it going to be a lot more powerful than Hubble?

    What makes this more important than projects like LISA?
    I read somewere(cant find the right page) just today that LISA has other applications all of which seemed rather important. So again, what makes this JWST special enough to trump the work of LISA?

    Also, if someone could provide a link to some good information about JWST and the upgrades from hubble?
     
  11. Feb 2, 2012 #10

    Pengwuino

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  12. Feb 6, 2012 #11
    JWST is "too big to fail" at this point. It is horribly over budget (apparently due to a combination of mismanagement and unforseen difficulties), but it has cost so many billions already that it won't be cancelled. The claim is they've now gotten over all the technical hurdles, so we just have to wait.

    LISA is not the only option for gravitational wave astronomy--there is also LIGO. LIGO was constructed mostly on time and budget, and reached its design sensitivity. At that sensitivity a detection was possible but not expected (needless to say they didn't see anything). They are currently upgrading LIGO to "Advanced LIGO", which will reach a sensitivity such that routine detection is expected.

    That said, LISA can do *way* more than LIGO and the science case for LISA is tremendously compelling. I'd be shocked if something like it isn't built some time over the next twenty years. As for the politics, ESA decided NASA was an unreliable partner, and demanded that future missions it funds have no NASA funding component. This killed LISA as it was originally designed (too expensive for ESA to do alone), but a scaled-back version has been proposed. A decision on whether this version is funded should come along in a few months (as last I heard).

    If you want to know all the amazing things LISA can do, read this fantastic recent review, http://arxiv.org/abs/1201.3621.
     
  13. Feb 6, 2012 #12

    Ryan_m_b

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    I hope you're right although my understand was that whilst JWST got extra funding the total amount of funding was capped. If any more setbacks or obstacles arise the JWST program might be back in the position of having to ask for more money and it might not get it.
     
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