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LISA selected as ESA L3 mission

The proposed LISA mission will detect gravitational waves in space using a trio of satellites, separated by millions of kilometers. Lasers will be employed to measure the minute changes in their relative distance induced by impinging gravitational waves © AEI/MM/exozet; GW simulation: NASA/C. Henze

In a meeting ESA’s Science Programme Committee selected the space-based gravitational-wave detector “Laser Interferometer Space Antenna” (LISA) for ESA’s third large (L3) mission in the “Cosmic Vision” plan. LISA will consist of three spacecraft separated by millions of kilometers.

They precisely monitor their relative distance changes with lasers to detect gravitational waves in space. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics Hannover and the Institut für Gravitationsphysik at Leibniz Universität Hannover are leading members of the international LISA consortium. LISA will complement ground-based gravitational-wave detectors by observing these space-time ripples at low frequencies, which are emitted by, e.g., merging supermassive black holes, and binary stars. After the selection on 20th of June, the design and costing of the mission will now be completed. It will then be proposed for “adoption” by ESA, followed by the construction of the spacecraft. The launch of the mission is expected in 2034.

Further information: Website Albert Einstein Institute Hannover