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posted by mattie_p on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the einstein-could-be-wrong-you-know dept.

AnonTechie writes:

"The search for gravity waves has been a century long epic. They are a prediction of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity but for years physicists argued about their theoretical existence. By literally squeezing light on a quantum level, scientists are refining detection instruments to an extent never seen before.

If you want to place bets on the date of first detection of some gravity wave then some physicists would bet on 2016, probably the majority would bet 2017. A few pessimists would say that we will discover unexpected problems that might take a few years to solve."

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  • (Score: 2) by martyb on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:42PM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:42PM (#7299) Journal

    kaalon (499) wrote:

    I know things happen slowly but this is exciting news. I remember the gravity probes A and B showing that frame-dragging was shown.

    CaptainK (1110) replied:

    and iirc they also made some cool equipment for that experiment.
    For example, the perfect sphere. [].

    That is an amazing article; thanks so much for the link! I am in absolute awe of the engineering that went into the design and implementation of the probe. For example, each gyroscope in the probe is only 1.5 inches in diameter. From the linked article:

    Alternatively, imagine a GP-B gyroscope enlarged to the size of the Earth. On Earth, the tallest mountains, like Mount Everest, are tens of thousands of feet high. Likewise, the deepest ocean trenches are tens of thousands of feet deep. By contrast, if a GP-B gyroscope were enlarged to the size of the Earth, its tallest mountain or deepest ocean trench would be only eight feet! (emphasis added)

    Satellite orientation was determined through half-silvered mirrors, roof prisms, and photo-diodes. They needed liquid Helium to keep the sensors cold enough to perform the measurements and had a 645 gallon Dewar for this purpose. Over time some of the liquid helium would boil off. They fed this boiled-off (now gaseous) helium to micro thrusters to adjust the entire satellite's orientation.

    I could go on, but it's better to just read the link.

    Wit is intellect, dancing.
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