LISA Technology Package core assembly – without vacuum enclosures
This artist's impression illustrates the LISA Technology Package core assembly without the vacuum enclosures.
The two gold cubes shown in this image are key to the LISA Pathfinder mission. Each of these electrode containers houses a gold-platinum test mass, visible in the cutaway on the right. LISA Pathfinder will monitor the two cubes as they enter free-fall motion using a high-precision laser interferometer.
The optical bench interferometer is shown between the two masses. This instrument is made from a 20 cm by 20 cm block of Zerodur ceramic glass, and has a set of 22 mirrors and beam-splitters bonded to its surface that direct laser beams. These beams will allow scientists to precisely measure the cubes' motion, position, and orientation without touching them. In this way, LISA Pathfinder will perform the first high-precision laser interferometric tracking of orbiting bodies in space.
Note: a version of this image with a transparent background and a clean cut out is available in two sizes: 2048×2048 [png, 2.3 MB] and 4096×4096 [png, 7.8 MB].