LISA and LIGO Project

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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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ahrkron

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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.
 

Nicool002

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.
 

ahrkron

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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).
 

RuroumiKenshin

Wow. I read a part of the article. Anyhow, could it eventually help us uncover gravitons or, better yet, manipulate gravity?
 
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How critical is the distance variation between and solar activity upon satellites for such orbiting gravitational interferometry?
 

damgo

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.
 
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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?
 

damgo

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.
 

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