LISA Pathfinder sets the stage for a gravitational wave hunt in space

Results released by the ESA's LISA Pathfinder team suggest it’s possible to achieve the sensitivity needed to build the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA).

A space-based gravitational wave observatory, which those planning a European mission generally call the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), is about 30 years old. And it could be 20 years more before we see it in action. But results released today by the European Space Agency’s LISA Pathfinder team suggest it’s possible to achieve the sensitivity needed to build it. Such a space-based observatory would use a technique similar to its Earth-bound cousin LIGO—which announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves earlier this year—to detect slight ripples in the fabric of space-time. But the quarry would be gravitational waves in a frequency range that’s inaccessible here on Earth, one that includes sources such as merging supermassive black holes in the heart of colliding galaxies. Read the full article on IEEE Spectrum.
The Laser Focus World take:

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) first detected cosmic gravitaional waves on September 14, 2015. We reported on it and some of the photonics instruments that helped in the seminal event. The LISA Pathfinder is the first step into a new dimension of gravitaional wave detection.

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