Chinese gravitational wave detection technologies report encouraging test results

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The results of the first round of tests for China's Tianqin-1 experimental satellite were published by the international journal Classical Gravity and Quantum Gravity, which showed encouraging results, the People's Daily reported Monday.

Launched on Dec. 20, 2019, Tianqin-1 is a satellite for space-based gravitational wave detection. Its core task is to verify technologies, including high-precision inertial sensing, micro-Newton propulsion and drag-free control, said the report, citing Luo Jun, chief scientist of the detection project and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

According to the report, the results for all technologies tested not only exceeded expectations but surpassed the previous records set by similar technologies in China.

Meaning "harp in the sky," the Tianqin project is expected to build a gravitational wave detection observatory in space, with three satellites in an orbit about 100,000 km from Earth to form an equilateral triangle around 2035. When gravitational waves come, "the harp's strings will be plucked," according to scientists.

The observatory will be used for research in astronomy, cosmology and basic physics, the newspaper said.

Gravitational waves are "ripples" in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the universe. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. 

 

Email: gaohan@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Gao Han