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Gravity quest set to go into orbit

Lisa PathfinderImage copyright
IABG

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Lisa Pathfinder will launch in November for a mission that is likely to last about a year

Europe is ready to launch its most exquisite satellite mission yet.

Lisa Pathfinder is a fundamental physics experiment that will test the technology needed to detect gravitational waves – what are sometimes referred to as ripples in the curvature of space-time.

Scientists and engineers have declared the demonstrator ready to fly after more than a decade of development.

It will likely go up in November on the European Space Agency’s Vega rocket.

The month marks the 100-year anniversary of when Einstein published the field equations that underpinned his Theory of General Relativity.

Gravitational waves are a direct consequence of that grand idea. And although there is plenty of evidence to suggest the Universe is awash with these ripples, so far no actual detection has been made – either here on Earth or in space.

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