LISA and LIGO: Exploring Gravity Waves in Space & Earth

In summary, the LISA project is an oversized version of LIGO that is being built now. It is planned to be launched in 2011 and will allow us to learn much more about the behavior of gravity and produce a different kind of sky map than the one we are used to.
  • #1
ahrkron
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Have you heard about the LISA project?
It is an oversized version of LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory).

LIGO is being built now, and it is basically two L shaped interferometers (one in Louisiana and one in Washington); each 4 km long.

LISA will be a much bigger version of this in space! Six satellites will be following earh around the Sun. It is planned to be launched in 2011. You can find out more
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  • #2
This is a big part of the beauty of the design:

By carefully choosing the tilts of the orbits, the thre spacecraft maintain a triangular configuration even though each is separately orbiting about the Sun.
 
  • #3
Yes, I believe I read about it a few months ago when they finished planning it. The article was in Discover magazine (If I am thinking of the right thing) I believe they said it would be used to search for and look at some known and unknown planets so we could learn more about them. If it works good enough they might even try seeing if the planets would be habitable, like Earth.
 
  • #4
I did not read that article, but I find it unlikely that they would do that kind of claim (looking fro planets), since LISA will detect gravitational waves (I must say that I'm no expert on the field).

It will allow us to learn much more about the behavior of gravity, and produce a different kind of sky map than the one we are used to (a "mass map" instead of a "light emmitting map").

Also, it may help determine which way to go in terms of further theoretical development (strings or spin networks).
 
  • #5
Wow. I read a part of the article. Anyhow, could it eventually help us uncover gravitons or, better yet, manipulate gravity?
 
  • #6
How critical is the distance variation between and solar activity upon satellites for such orbiting gravitational interferometry?
 
  • #7
Distance variation isn't a very big concern orbitally: the satellites do all their interferometry internally, their location can be known fairly imprecisely (it's the distances along the interferometer arms that matters). Thermal variation is more of an issue, because it could change the arm lengths via thermal expansion/cooling.
 
  • #8
This would be so awsome. I hope they actually do it. They haven't been too good about keeping there promises about things. Anybody remember the moon?
 
  • #9
Oh, incidentally, LIGO has been running for a while: they achieved "first lock" -- getting the interferometer beams ready to take measurements --- back in 2000, and completed their first science run last fall. The idea has always been that LIGO would be a test/development system for LIGO II, which would start running ~2005-7.
 

Related to LISA and LIGO: Exploring Gravity Waves in Space & Earth

1. What is LISA and LIGO?

LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) and LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) are two separate projects that use interferometry techniques to detect and measure gravitational waves. LISA is a space-based observatory while LIGO is a ground-based observatory.

2. How do LISA and LIGO detect gravitational waves?

Both LISA and LIGO use interferometry, which involves splitting a laser beam and recombining it to measure tiny changes in the distance between two objects. In the case of LISA, this involves three spacecrafts arranged in a triangular formation that measure changes in the distance between them caused by gravitational waves. LIGO, on the other hand, uses two perpendicular arms with mirrors at the ends to measure changes in the distance between the mirrors.

3. What is the significance of detecting gravitational waves?

The detection of gravitational waves provides direct evidence for the existence of these ripples in space-time, as predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity. It also opens up a new window for observing and studying the universe, as gravitational waves can provide information about cataclysmic events such as black hole mergers and supernovae that cannot be observed through traditional telescopes.

4. What are the differences between LISA and LIGO?

The main difference between LISA and LIGO is their location. LISA is a space-based observatory, which allows for longer observation times and the ability to measure lower frequency gravitational waves. LIGO, on the other hand, is a ground-based observatory and is able to detect higher frequency gravitational waves. Another difference is their sensitivity - LISA is expected to detect larger gravitational waves while LIGO can detect smaller ones.

5. What are some potential future developments for LISA and LIGO?

Both LISA and LIGO are constantly being improved and upgraded to increase their sensitivity and detection capabilities. In the future, there are plans to launch a third LISA spacecraft to improve its triangulation capabilities and to build a larger and more sensitive version of LIGO called the Einstein Telescope. Both projects also have the potential to detect new and unexpected sources of gravitational waves, providing a deeper understanding of the universe.

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