Space antenna of LISA laser interferometer reaches milestone

(ORDO NEWS) — LISA, the spaceborne laser interferometer antenna, has reached a milestone: it has passed a comprehensive Mission Review (MFR) and is now moving into the next phase of development.

The expert panel, composed of experts from ESA, NASA, academia and industry, did not identify any obstacles and confirmed that LISA has successfully reached a stage sufficient to proceed to the next stage of development.

The MFR confirms the feasibility of LISA’s mission and sets out a clear path for the development of technologies needed to reach the next major milestone: mission acceptance.

The MFR is a reference point to ensure sufficient technology and planning maturity for LISA; this is a necessary condition for the continued development of the mission. In the life cycle of an ESA mission, this stage is the formal end of the first phase. Now LISA is entering the next phase.

“Work on the LISA project is well underway. We are now entering Phase B1, during which we are doing more detailed design work to define the full set of mission requirements and validation approach,” says Prof. Carsten Danzmann, LISA Consortium Leader.

Martin Geler, head of LISA research at the European Space Agency, adds: “This has been a great success for all stakeholders and the fruit of the active work of NASA and ESA over the past years.”

Through its gravitational wave observations, LISA will provide an unparalleled and unique view of the universe, completely different from any other space telescope and any ground-based gravitational wave detector.

LISA will provide groundbreaking scientific results to understand what is not available with electromagnetic observations. Combining the LISA observations with observations of other ground and space objects will enable scientists to achieve tremendous advances in astronomy.

The LISA instrument will consist of three triangular spacecraft with a side length of 2.5 million kilometers, moving in an Earth-like orbit around the Sun. Gravitational waves from sources throughout the universe will create small fluctuations (smaller than the diameter of an atom).

LISA will capture these fluctuations and thus measure gravitational waves, using laser communication to observe the displacements of the objects under study. The LISA satellites are being built by ESA, ESA member countries and NASA.

The LISA instrument has passed the first and very successful test of the LISA Pathfinder (LPF) mission, led by ESA with the participation of NASA.

It included a thorough review of the critical components of the LISA technology. LPF has demonstrated the ability to place and maintain objects with astonishing accuracy, and that the sophisticated metrology required for LISA is up to the mark.

LISA will observe gravitational waves at a lower frequency range than those detected by LIGO and Virgo, allowing us to observe much larger systems at earlier periods in the history of the universe.

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