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About me



Found 2 results

  1. This is the greatest cult of All Time
  2. It was more or less expected, after last year both confirmed the existence of gravitational waves and saw the tech demonstration precursor LISA Pathfinder blow all testing requirements out of the water within a day of setting up: The European Space Agency has formally greenlit the implementation of its ambitious Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) as a flagship "L-Class" mission. It will consist of three spacecraft, flying in a triangle formation several million kilometers apart, performing laser interferometry between each other with the goal of measuring gravitational waves. The incredible precision of this instrument will far outmatch anything that could ever be built on the curved surface of Earth. LIGO, our only currently operational gravitational wave detector, only has two beams with a few kilometers of distance to work with, by comparison. The mission is currently slated for launch in 2034. "Why so late?", I hear you ask. Well, it's simple, really: it's going to be ESA's third L-Class mission - and the first one hasn't even launched yet! Before LISA gets its turn, we will see the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) in 2022, and the Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics (ATHENA) X-ray observatory in 2028. Also, keep in mind that ESA's budget is only roughly 1/4th that of NASA, and thus they can't quite pound out missions like these in rapid succession. Finally, ESA's plans for a gravitational wave observatory were delayed from an originally more aggressive timeline when the US congress made NASA pull out of a cooperation agreement in 2011. Without this delay, it might have gotten the 2028 slot. Now, while the two other L-Class missions are both impressive in their own right, the sheer ambition behind LISA cannot be overstated. It might be the most revolutionary mission that ESA has ever undertaken, and I am very pleased to see it move forward.
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