With the first of what they say is confirmation of observation and detection by scientists of Gravity Waves and Black Holes, any projecting involving this field of astrophysics will have a favourable chance of funding compared to other science projects.
Other Laser Interferometer experiments and gravitational wave detectors looking for Gravitational Wave data, like eLISA, are scheduled and funded to be designed, built, operated, data analysed, maintained, upgraded in the future. Good news for the careers and pensions of everyone involved. Oh, and good news for science of course.
Vast parts of the Universe are obscured by dark clouds and cannot be observed by means of conventional astronomical techniques (e.g. using light or radio waves). However, gravitational waves pass these clouds unhindered. Furthermore, the Universe consists up to 96 % of the enigmatic Dark Matter and Dark Energy that we know interact with gravity. Thus gravitational wave astronomy will come up with exact information on the distribution of neutron stars and black holes in the Universe as well as on the detailed course of cosmic catastrophes like the collapse and the explosion of a star (supernova) or the merger of two compact stars or black holes. Even the gravitational waves produced during the Big Bang are expected still to be crossing the Universe. The observation of waves from binary star systems allows us to determine the expansion of the Universe with a high degree of accuracy. All this will substantially broaden our knowledge of the creation, composition, development, and fate of the Universe.
GEO600 starts continuous search for Gravitational Waves | Phys.org
We don't know what causes gravity, we think we know what it does.
Scientists made calculations about the mass of the universe and were 95% out, so instead of considering if their theories might be wrong, they created dark matter, dark energy, dark stuff to explain it. Dark stuff can not be measured or observed directly, so has to be inferred.
Welcome to and all aboard the Gravy Wavy train.
$1 billion and 1000 LIGO peer reviewed careers
The initial setting up of the LIGO project in 1992 gave jobs and careers for scientists, support staff and also the technology companies that helped build and run it.
The original run of experiments from 2002 to 2010 were a complete failure as they failed to detect any gravitational waves and therefore no first direct observation of black holes.
From 2010 to 2015 the two bases that make up the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) were upgraded with $620 million to create the new advance LIGO (aLIGO).
Even before the official restart of the Advance LIGO on 18 September 2015, the systems had detected on 14 September 2015 what would become GW150914 (Gravity Wave 150914) - which the LIGO team and scientists around the world declared as the first direct observation and proof of Gravitational Waves and black holes, as well as Einstein's General Theory of Relativity of everything built and modelled on that.
The LIGO observatories will carry on being upgraded to their designed sensitivity in 2021.
LIGO is the largest single enterprise undertaken by NSF, with capital investments of nearly $300 million and operating costs of more than $30 million/year.
LIGO | National Science Foundation
Thorne, Drever and Weiss eventually began working as a team, each taking on a share of the countless problems that had to be solved to develop a feasible experiment. The trio founded LIGO in 1984, and, after building prototypes and collaborating with a growing team, banked more than $100 million in NSF funding in the early 1990s. Blueprints were drawn up for a pair of giant L-shaped detectors. A decade later, the detectors went online.
... The sensitivity of Advanced LIGO’s detectors will continue to improve over the next couple of years, and a third interferometer called Advanced Virgo will come online in Italy.
Gravitational Waves Discovered at Long Last | Quanta Magazine
The discovery is a great triumph for three physicists — Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology, Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ronald Drever, formerly of Caltech and now retired in Scotland — who bet their careers on the dream of measuring the most ineffable of Einstein’s notions.
The chirp is also sweet vindication for the National Science Foundation, which spent about $1.1 billion over more than 40 years to build a new hotline to nature, facing down criticism that sources of gravitational waves were not plentiful or loud enough to justify the cost.
“It’s been decades, through a lot of different technological innovations,” France Córdova, the foundation’s director, said in an interview, recalling how, in the early years, the foundation’s advisory board had “really scratched their heads on this one.”
Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory | The New York Times
“There are people who’ve put their entire life into this search, and there are people who died before having a chance to see anything,” says LIGO team member Szabolcs Márka, a physicist at Columbia University. “It’s really a wonderful feeling that you have validated the investment of the tremendous amount of work.
LIGO began its first run in 2002, and hunted through 2010 without finding any gravitational waves. The scientists then shut down the experiment and upgraded nearly every aspect of the detectors, including boosting the power of the lasers and replacing the mirrors, for a subsequentrun, called Advanced LIGO, that began officially on September 18, 2015. Yet even before then the experiment was up and running: the signal arrived on September 14 at 5:51 A.M. Eastern time, reaching the detector in Louisiana seven milliseconds before it got to the detector in Washington. Advanced LIGO is already about three times more sensitive than the initial LIGO, and is designed to become about 10 times more sensitive than the first iteration in the next few years.
More than 1,000 scientists work on the $1-billion LIGO experiment, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Gravitational Waves Discovered from Colliding Black Holes | National Geographic
Pessimists thought that the events might be so rare that even the new and improved LIGO wouldn’t detect anything, at least for a year or two. But unless the experimenters have had exceptional “beginners’ luck” it looks as though a new kind of astronomy has opened up, revealing the dynamics of space itself, rather than the material that pervades it.
Two European detectors are joining the search, and these discoveries will stimulate wider efforts to exploit this fundamentally new channel of information about cosmic phenomena.
Gravitational waves: Einstein was right | Telegraph
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
National Science Foundation budget | NSF
Direct Labor Rates: Post Doctoral, Senior Scientists, Scientists, Senior Engineers, Engineers, Technicians, Other (Subcontract Management etc), Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Clerical/Administrative, Other.
Contract Labor rates will be based on historical cost data from LIGO I.
LIGO II COST ESTIMATING PLAN | (link to PDF) Caltech
LISA/eLISA (was a joint NASA and ESA project)
LISA/eLISA is the European Space Agency mission for a space-borne gravitational wave detector.
The European Space Agency’s LISA Pathfinder, which launched on 3 December 2015 from the Guiana Space Centre and slotted into orbit on 22 January, is a proof-of-concept mission to prove that two masses – in this case, a pair of identical 46-millimetre gold-platinum cubes – can fly through space, untouched but shielded within the spacecraft, and be “linked” by a network of lasers.
The scientific payload, which was more than a decade in the making, will kick in next week.
First LIGO, now LISA: finding gravitational waves in space | Cosmos Magazine
A space based observatory, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, is currently under development by ESA.
Gravitational Waves | Wikipedia
A forerunner mission, LISA Pathfinder, was launched by ESA on 3 December 2015; the Pathfinder will not directly search for gravitational waves but will test several new technologies planned for eLISA.
An ESA test mission called LISA Pathfinder (LPF) will prove LISA/eLISA's key technologies in space. LPF consists of a single spacecraft with one of the LISA/eLISA interferometer arms shortened to about 38 cm, so that it fits inside a single spacecraft.
LISA Pathfinder | Wikipedia
The Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA), previously called the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), is a proposed European Space Agency mission designed to detect and accurately measure gravitational waves — tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time — from astronomical sources.
Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA) | Wikipedia
A gigantic laser experiment intended to study the nature of gravity and an x-ray telescope designed to look at black holes are being swept into the dustbin of history, too big and too expensive to survive the federal budget ax. NASA is skipping out on LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, and the International X-Ray Observatory.
NASA's contribution to LISA would have been $1.5 billion of the project's $2.4 billion cost, according to Science News. NASA had committed $3.1 billion to the $5 billion price tag on IXO. JWST is running over budget to the tune of about $1.4 billion, a panel predicted last year, forcing NASA to keep tight reins over the rest of its astrophysics budget.
Citing Cost, NASA Bows Out Of Two Astrophysics Projects, Including Building the Largest Scientific Instrument Ever | Popular Science
The Virgo project was approved in 1993 by the French CNRS and in 1994 by the Italian INFN, the two institutes at the origin of the experiment. The construction of the detector has started in 1996 in the Cascina site near Pisa, Italy. In December 2000, CNRS and INFN have created the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO consortium). EGO is responsible for the Virgo site, in charge of the construction, the maintenance and the operation of the detector, as well as of its upgrades. The goal of EGO is also to promote research and studies about gravitation in Europe. As of December 2015, 19 laboratories plus EGO are members of the Virgo collaboration.
The construction of the initial Virgo detector was completed in June 2003 and several data taking periods followed between 2007 and 2011. Some of these runs were done in coincidence with the two LIGO detectors. Then, a long upgrade phase started; it should reach an important milestone during late 2016.
Budget: About ten million euros per year ($11 million or £7.5 million)
Staff: More than 320 people contribute to the Virgo experiment
Virgo interferometer | Wikipedia
The Australian International Gravitational Research Centre is based in the School of physics of the University of Western Australia (UWA) and is part of the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy (ACIGA). It was established in 1990 to enable a cooperative research centre providing a national focus in a major frontier in physics: the detection of gravitational waves and the development of gravitational astronomy. Through strong national and international participation, the research centre concentrates on the development of advanced technologies driven by the goal of the next generation large scale gravitational observatory construction.
Australian International Gravitational Research Centre | University of Western Australia
The GWO project began 13 years ago - $30M spent to date – on a dedicated site provided by the WA Government in Gingin Shire, 80km north of Perth.
Direct detection of gravitational waves is cutting edge frontier science, the major outstanding prediction of fundamental physics. The science is as significant as the Higgs particle – eg. direct observation of black holes - and yet its cost is only modest: 10% of the SKA. - $20m pa for the federal government and $5M pa for WA.
Australia is a leading player in the international program (1000 physicists, $1 Billion) and is geographically required. Because of its sole southern hemisphere location, it becomes a pivotal player with disproportionate significance.
The project ticks all the economic/national benefit boxes:
Manufacturing (to maintain Australian competitiveness), Employment at all levels, especially in steel fabrication, Education and training benefit at all levels, Regional benefits
International partnership especially engagement with China, Innovations and spin-offs relevant to defence and exploration technology and regional development and environment, Indigenous involvement
Australian International Gravitational Wave Observatory | AIGO (link to PDF)
INDIGO, or IndIGO (Indian Initiative in Gravitational-wave Observations) is a consortium of Indian gravitational-wave physicists. This is an initiative to set up advanced experimental facilities for a multi-institutional observatory project in gravitational-wave astronomy. Since 2009, the IndIGO Consortium has been involved in constructing the Indian roadmap for gravitational-wave astronomy and a phased strategy towards Indian participation in realizing a gravitational-wave observatory in the Asia-Pacific region. IndIGO is the Indian partner (along with the LIGO Laboratory in USA) in planning the proposed LIGO-India project.
The additional funding required to operate the LIGO-India detector is still under consideration by the Indian government under the aegis of its department of science and technology (DST) and department of atomic energy (DAE). The US National Science Foundation agreed to the relocation of one of the Hanford detectors (L2) to LIGO-India provided that the additional funding required to house the detector in India would have to be sponsored by the host country. Final approval is still pending on the project.
Indian Initiative in Gravitational-wave Observations | Wikipedia
China making Gravity Waves
Chinese scientists have unveiled three separate projects to investigate gravitational waves, state media said Wednesday, days after earthshaking US discoveries that confirmed Einstein's century-old predictions.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) rolled out a proposal for a space-based gravitational wave detection project, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The proposed Taiji programme, named after the "supreme ultimate" of Chinese philosophy symbolised by the yin-yang sign, would send satellites of its own into orbit or share equipment with the European Space Agency's eLISA initiative.
Separately, Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou also proposed to launch satellites into space, while the Institute of High Energy Physics at CAS suggested a land-based scheme in Tibet.
Three gravitational wave projects unveiled in China | Phys.org
Japan has gravitational wave detector projects including TAMA300 andKamioka Gravitational Wave Detector (KAGRA), with KAGRA costing about $200 million.
Construction of the TAMA project started in 1995. Data were collected from 1999 to 2004. It adopted a Fabry Perot Michelson Interferometer (FPMI) with power recycling. It is officially known as the 300m Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Antenna. The goal of the project was to develop advanced techniques needed for a future kilometer sized interferometer and to detect gravitational waves that may occur by chance within the Local Group.
TAMA 300 | Wikipedia
In the 1970's, two groups in Europe, one led by Heinz Billing in Germany and one led by Ronald Drever in UK, initiated investigations into laser-interferometric gravitational wave detection. In 1975 the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Munich started with a prototype of 3 m armlength, which later (1983), at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching, led to a prototype with 30 m armlength. In 1977 the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Glasgow began similar investigations, and in 1980 started operation of a 10 m prototype.
n 1985 the Garching group proposed the construction of a large detector with 3 km armlength, the British group an equivalent project in 1986. The two groups combined their efforts in 1989 - the project GEO was born, with the Harz mountains (Northern Germany) considered an ideal site. The project was, however, not funded, because of financial problems. Thus in 1994 a smaller detector was proposed: GEO600, to be built in the lowlands near Hannover, with arms of 600 m in length. The construction of this British-German gravitational wave detector started in September 1995.
In 2001 the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) in Potsdam took over the Hannover branch of the MPQ, and since 2002 the detector is operated by a joint Center of Gravitational Physics of AEI and Leibniz Universität Hannover, together with the universities of Glasgow and Cardiff. Since 2002 GEO600 participated in several data runs in coincidence with the LIGO detectors. In 2006, GEO600 has reached the design sensitivity, but up to now no signal has been detected. The next aim is to reduce the remaining noise by another factor of about 10, until 2016.
GEO600 History | wikipedia
GEO600 is a ground-based interferometric gravitational wave detector located near Hannover, Germany. It is designed and operated by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics and the Leibniz Universität Hannover, along with partners in the United Kingdom, and is funded by the Max Planck Society and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). GEO600 is part of a worldwide network of gravitational wave detectors.
GEO600 | GEO600
The detection of gravitational waves is a front-line technical challenge. In every aspect of the detector one has to go beyond the limits of existing technology: laser stabilisation, optics without absorption, control engineering, vibration isolation, data acquisition and data processing. Only the further development of these branches, initiated by GEO600, made a gravitational wave detector possible. At the same time GEO600 had to manage with a material budget of only 7 Million Euro (while the whole budget of both US LIGO detectors was $ 365 million). The realisation of this project at the forefront of research has thus been enabled only by innovative ideas, reduction to the essentials, and manufacturing of most parts by our own workshop. Without the enthusiasm and the help of our diploma and PhD students GEO600 would not have been realised.
GEO600 starts continuous search for Gravitational Waves | Phys.org