The detection of gravitational waves by researchers in the United States is prompting scientists around the world, including in China, to delve deeper into the universe. Scientists have announced a gravitational wave research plan, dubbed “Taiji,” to conduct their own studies on the scientific breakthrough.
After the earthshaking detection of gravitational waves in the U.S., China is seeking to become a world leader in the field. A step up from the American LIGO research conducted from a ground-based observatory, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences are working on detection from space.
NASA researchers simulated the gravitational waves that would be produced when two black holes merged. [Photo/NASA]
“From space we can detect a much wider spectrum, which will contain more scientific data. We can then measure a large quantity of black holes and the gravitational waves generated by the big bang at the very beginning,” said Hu Wenrui, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“If we liken the study of gravitational waves to a musical composition, LIGO can only be regarded as the prelude, and space detection is the main body.”
Gravitational waves can be used as a tool for probing into the deeper reaches of the universe, or even the origin of it. If scientists can intercept the information about the wave source, they will be able to use brand new means to study black holes and other celestial bodies.
“China will either take a share of the European Space Agency’s eLISA project, to share equipment with them, or send our own wave-detection satellite group into space to work as a parallel project to eLISA’s one,” said Hu.
The Taiji proposal is just one step in China’s grand space plan. Several research teams are studying gravitational waves with different methods and objectives.
If people take the scientists’ musical analogy of the different frequencies of gravitational waves. Then Taiji aims at detecting the “high pitched voice,” the giant radio telescope in Guizhou province is listening out for the “middle pitch,” and another plan in the making, “Ali,” hopes to hear the first tremors of the Big Bang.