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China to launch gravitational wave research project

gravitational wave, Chinese technology

Tianqin, China's domestic gravitational wave research project initiated by the Sun Yat-sen University in July 2015, is awaiting governmental approval.


The US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) announced its ground-breaking discovery of gravitational waves on Thursday (Feb 11), which fulfilled the prediction of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity a century ago.


The new discovery has encouraged further studies into gravitational waves around the world, with China accelerating its domestic research, said Li Miao, dean of the Institute of Astronomy and Space Science of the university in China's Guangdong Province in the south. According to Li, Tianqin has already made progress on some key technologies and will be carried out in four stages over the next 15 to 20 years, including the last step of launching three high-orbit satellites to detect gravitational waves.


The university plans to build a 5,000-square-meter observatory and a new lab occupying more than 10,000 square meters on Fenghuang Mountain in Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province. Chen Yanbei, scientist with LIGO, said Tianqin will study the gravitational waves in the space, which is different from research made by the US ground-based observatory.

中山大学计划修建一个5000平方米的天文台,并在广东珠海的凤凰山上新建占地10000平方米的实验室。LIGO科学家Chen Yanbei称,"天琴计划"将在太空中研究引力波,不同于美国通过地面天文台对引力波进行研究。

"Tianqin will likely collect more information about the phenomenon, as a larger black hole may be detected in space compared with one detected on the ground," said Chen.


Sun Yat-sen University is willing to co-operate with other institutions in China as well as around the globe to carry out its project, Li added.



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