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Largest scientific instrument ever built to prove Einstein's theory of general relativity - Telegraph -
Largest scientific instrument ever built to prove Einstein's theory of general relativity  - Telegraph
"Physicists hope the ambitious mission will allow them to prove the existence of gravitational waves – a phenomenon predicted in Einstein's famous theory of general relativity and the last piece of his theory still to be proved correct. The mission, a collaboration between Nasa and the European Space Agency, will use three spacecraft flying in formation while orbiting the sun, with each housing floating cubes of gold platinum. Laser beams fired between the spacecraft will then be used to measure minute changes in the distance between each of the cubes, caused by the weak waves of gravity that ripple out from catastrophic events in deep space. Einstein's theory of general relativity predicted that when large objects such as black holes collide, ripples in space and time flow outwards. These ripples are called gravitational waves." - RAPatton from Bookmarklet
"Professor Jim Hough, an expert on gravitational waves at Glasgow University and a member of the committee that drew up the plans, said: "Gravitational waves are the last piece of Einstein's theory of general relativity that has still to be proved correct. "They are produced when massive objects like black holes or collapsed stars accelerate through space, perhaps because they being pulled towards another object with greater gravitational pull like a massive black hole. "Unfortunately we haven't been able to detect them yet because they are very weak. However, the new experiments we are working on have great potential to allow detection."" - RAPatton
"A smaller test mission called LISA Pathfinder, which is being built by British engineers at space company Astrium EADS and is due to be launched next year, is to pave the way for the more ambitious mission by demonstrating the technology to be used to detect the waves. Scientists have already begun building the instruments that will be used in LISA itself, but it is not expected to be launched before 2020. They hope that once detected, gravitational waves will be able to provide new information about the universe that cannot currently be seen using electromagnetic radiation such as light, radio waves and X-rays. Professor Sheila Rowan, who also studies gravitational waves at Glasgow University, added: "Black holes are so dense that no light or radiation escapes from inside them. "Gravitational waves from the warped spacetime around black holes could give us new ways of looking at them." - RAPatton