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China to step up gravitational waves research — reports

BEIJING, Feb. 14 — China will step up its efforts to study the gravitational waves phenomenon five months after the first ripples in space-time were observed, researchers told national media Sunday.

The gravitational waves, predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity over 100 years ago, were picked up by two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors on September 14, researchers announced Thursday.

"We will deepen technical cooperation and professional resources exchange with prominent research institutes such as MIT, in addition to attracting foreign specialists," Sun Yat-sen University Astronomy and Space Science Institute Dean Li Miao told The Global Times publication.

Li said the project dubbed "Tianqin" would be carried out over the next 20 years in four stages and would include three high-orbit satellite launches to detect gravitational waves.

"China needs to make more efforts in theoretical physics to become a leading nation in science and technology. Research on gravitational waves has scientific significance, [contributing to] the detection of mineral or water resource distribution and propelling the development of technologies such as laser physics and space technology," Li stressed.

Awaiting government approval, the Tianqin project will include building a more than 100,000-square-foot observatory and lab on Fenghuang Mountain in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province in southeastern China.

The gravitational waves observed in Louisiana and Washington states were produced by two black holes colliding around 1.3 billion light years away with peak output 50 times the energy of the entire universe.

According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, two black holes orbiting each other lose energy as they send out gravitational waves. As a result, the two bodies approach each other over billions of years, ultimately speeding up and colliding into a single "black star" and emitting gravitational waves. (PNA/Sputnik)


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