A spacecraft that will test Einstein's Theory of General Relativity is set to lift-off in France on Dec. 2. The decade-long study by the University of Glasgow's Institute for Gravitational Research will help scientists detect presence of gravitational waves in space.
In Nov. 25, 1915, Albert Einstein, one of the world's greatest scientists, coined a theory that says space and time should be considered together and in relation to each other. To celebrate his theory's 100th anniversary, scientists are set to test it in space.
The kit was developed to help detect gravitational waves or ripples. These are believed to be created by astronomical events like merging of huge black holes, powerful supernova explosions or cosmic collisions.
This is part of a bigger mission set to launch in 2034. The eLISA Mission will be the first observatory in space to explore the gravitational universe. It aims to detect gravitational waves emitted by 'coalescing binary black holes and ultra-compact galactic binaries' that are too faint that even strong sources are barely detectable at a distance.
However, LISA Pathfinder, which is set to launch on Dec. 2, will test the concept of gravitational wave detection in space.
"[It] will place two test masses in a nearly gravitational free-fall, and will control and measure their relative motion with unprecedented accuracy. This is achieved through innovative technologies comprising inertial sensors, an optical metrology system, a drag-free control system and micro-Newton thruster system. The test-masses and their environment will be the quietest place in the solar system," as written in eLISA's website.
The decade-long research will have its debut and scientists will test if their hard work will pay off.
"For the last decade, we've been working very hard on LISA Pathfinder, which is a tremendously exciting project involving researchers from all over Europe," said Dr. Harry Ward, the lead researcher of the Glasgow team.
"It's exhilarating and a little frightening that we're finally on the verge of seeing it set off on the mission it was conceived to undertake and I'll be lucky enough to see it from the launch site in Kourou," he added.
The European Space Agency will cover the launch live in their website from 03:50 GMT (04:50 CET) and the Press briefing from 05:45 GMT (06:45 CET).
LISA Pathfinder Mission Overview
Inside LISA Pathfinder