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Gravitational astronomy: Hearing the heavens

Gravitational astronomy: Hearing the heavens

Publication date: 05 March 2008

Authors: Bell, T.E.

Journal: Nature
Volume: 452
Issue: 7183
Page: 18-21
Year: 2008

Copyright: Nature Publishing Group

LISA is perhaps the most ambitious space mission envisaged for the coming decades. A recent assessment of astrophysics research proposed for NASA's Beyond Einstein programme by America's National Research Council (NRC) gave the "extraordinarily original and technically bold" project its highest scientific ranking. Under joint development by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), LISA's goal is to detect gravitational waves - fluctuations in the fabric of space and time - by measuring the relative motions of three spacecraft with great precision. Although that assessment carried out by the NRC saw LISA as the "least scientifically risky" of the proposals for future flagship missions, there is no getting away from the fact that no one has ever tried anything remotely similar before.

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