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Space-based probe passes tests for gravitational wave detection

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7:09am, June 7, 2016
LISA Pathfinder illustration

LISA Pathfinder (illustrated) has demonstrated that gravitational waves can be detected with an observatory in space.

Gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime, can be detected with a space-based observatory, researchers say.

LISA Pathfinder, a European Space Agency satellite launched on December 3, 2015, has been testing technologies needed to put a gravitational wave detector in space. By avoiding the rumblings that detectors on the ground have to deal with, a space-based observatory can peer much deeper into space. At a news conference on June 7, mission scientists announced that the orbiting facility has surpassed the precision needed for future missions to detect spacetime disturbances.

That precision

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