Science

The Hunt For Space-Time Gravitational Ripples Begin

By Paul Pajarillo , Nov 30, 2015 02:05 AM EST
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The European Space Agency released a statement that they are ready to measure gravitational waves that causes space-time ripples. Albert Einstein made this theory related to general relativity more than 100 years ago.

German-born physicist Albert Einstein made a theory about general relativity with an argument that time and space are two sides in a single sheath. In the theory made 100 years ago, it stated that large objects can cause time and space to curve, as huge moving objects are the source of gravitational waves that wrinkles the space-time sheath.

Although these gravitational waves have never been detected, the European Space Agency physicists have set a target year of 2034 to measure such kinds of undetected waveforms. Before the target year arrives, the agency will be testing an array of devices to measure gravitational waves.

Even if 2034 is still 19 years from now, the agency has already declared they are ready to measure space-time ripples with the launch of a spacecraft that will test the technology for its mission. The LISA Pathfinder will be launching on Dec. 2 at a spaceport near Kourou, French Guinea.

Work for the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft began in 2000. It was originally planned to launch in 2008. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, technical difficulties almost wrecked the Pathfinder project. With gravitational waves as an important matter of LISA's mission, the project pushed until it was finally finished.

The LISA Pathfinder will orbit 1.5 kilometers from Earth and could be staying in outer space up to one whole year. The spacecraft plans to measure motion of two masses in an almost-precise gravitational free-fall. With this measurement, the craft should demonstrate if the plan goes accordingly by travelling in curved spaces along straight lines.

Birmingham University Experimental Physics Professor Andreas Freise said that doing these almost-accurate measurements is one of experimental physics' greatest challenges. Measuring it from outer space makes it even more difficult as things cannot be adjusted, and that all things should work in its first attempt.

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