Our entire knowledge about the universe is based upon the observation of electromagnetic waves like light, infrared, ultraviolet and gamma rays. But scientists are now working on the technology that will pave the way to a completely different method of observing the universe.
Scientists have successfully tested a vital component of the ‘LISA Pathfinder’ satellite that will pave the way for the technology needed to detect gravitational waves in space for the very first time.
Gravitational waves are ripples in space generated by extreme cosmic events, such as the collision of black holes, an explosion of dying stars and supernova explosions, which carry vast amounts of energy at the speed of light. Measurement of gravitational waves will allow scientists to trace the formation, growth and mergers of massive black holes in space, the most powerful transformations of energy in the universe.
LISA Pathfinder is a European Space Agency (ESA) technology test mission. The name LISA originally comes from the gravitational wave mission ‘Laser Interferometer Space Antenna’ jointly planned by ESA and NASA. Although NASA dropped out of the joint project later on, ESA went ahead on its own.
LISA Pathfinder is a revolutionary mission. The new technology cannot be properly verified on the ground because Earth’s gravity and environment would interfere with the test results. The low frequency gravitational waves can be precisely detected in the space only.
The LISA Pathfinder mission is all set for launch in 2015 to test the high-precision technology on a smaller scale that will be used later on a much larger international project called LISA.