5 years ago, LIGO detected our first gravitational waves here on Earth. Next decade, LISA will start seeing them from space.
When it comes to gravitational waves, our terrestrial laser interferometers have provided us with unparalleled success in terms of direct detection. But they have some strong fundamental limits: their laser arms are short; their sensitivity is limited to low-mass, small-radius objects; the signals they detect last for mere seconds, at most. Most importantly, seismic noise, and even the fact that we live on a planet with tectonic plates, place restrictions on how sensitive we’ll ever be able to get.
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But in space, all of these stories change dramatically, and the upcoming European Space Agency mission LISA is aiming to open up our eyes to a realm of gravitational wave astronomy like we’ve never experienced before.