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LISA Pathfinder outshone its expectations

6 Feb 2018, 14:59 UTC
LISA Pathfinder outshone its expectations
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LPF tested the technologies that will eventually detect low-frequency gravitational waves within the cosmos. Image credit: ESA/D. Ducros
The final results from the European Space Agency’s test satellite LISA Pathfinder (LPF) seem to surpass all expectations of its interferometer abilities. The final set of data was taken in July 2017, and were carefully analysed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover and Leibniz Universität Hannover. These results have been a vast improvement on the first set of results, published in mid 2016, showcasing that the key technologies necessary for its successor LISA to detect the tiniest ripples in spacetime, also known as gravitational waves.
“LISA Pathfinder beautifully demonstrated the key technologies for LISA, the future gravitational-wave observatory in space: the perfect undisturbed free fall of two cubic test masses inside the spacecraft,” says Prof. Karsten Danzmann, director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics and the Institute for Gravitational Physics at Leibniz Universität Hannover, who also is the Co-Principal Investigator of the LISA Technology Package. “We were blown away by the results in the first weeks of the mission, but our final results, using more and better data and a deeper understanding of our ...

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