The Indian government has given the final clearance for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project, which is the country’s most significant scientific facility. LIGO is an international network of laboratories that detect the ripples in spacetime produced by the movement of large celestial objects like stars and planets.
Why is it in the News?
LIGO-India is in the news because of the significance of the project. The LIGO project is a major international collaboration to study gravitational waves. The Indian government’s decision to give the final go-ahead for LIGO-India is a significant boost for the project.
LIGO-India, located in Hingoli district of Maharashtra, around 450 km east of Mumbai, will be operational from 2030 and it is a very ambitious Astronomical project for India.
What is LIGO-India?
LIGO-India is the Indian node in the global network of labs that detect and study gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time that are generated when massive objects like black holes or neutron stars collide. LIGO-India will be an important part of the global network that detects and studies gravitational waves, adding to the precision and accuracy of observations.
Collaboration with US LIGO observatories
In the US, there are already two such LIGO observatories. The third such cutting-edge gravitational-wave observatory will be LIGO-India. A group of Indian research institutes and the LIGO Laboratory in the United States, together with its worldwide collaborators, are planning to work together on the project. Key lab components worth $80 million, or Rs 560 crore, would be supplied by the US.
In February 2016, the government granted in-principle clearance to LIGO-India. Since then, the project has accomplished a number of significant milestones on the way to choosing and acquiring the land for the observatory.
How LIGO Works?
LIGO uses a highly sophisticated laser-based interferometry technique to detect and measure gravitational waves.
The system works by splitting a laser beam into two equal parts, each of which is sent down a four-kilometre-long vacuum pipe.
The beams are reflected back to the central location, where they are recombined.
When a gravitational wave passes through the system, it changes the distance travelled by the laser beams, causing them to fall out of phase, which is detected by the system.
Why is the LIGO crucial for India?
LIGO-India will have significant benefits for India.
Firstly, it will put India at the forefront of global scientific research in the field of gravitational waves.
Secondly, it will provide an opportunity for Indian scientists to work alongside their international counterparts on this important project.
Thirdly, it will encourage the development of advanced scientific and technological infrastructure in India, leading to technological advancement and economic growth.
The LIGO project is an international collaboration of scientists and researchers to study gravitational waves. LIGO-India is an essential part of this project, and its construction will put India at the forefront of global scientific research in the field of gravitational waves. With the construction of LIGO-India, India will have the opportunity to work alongside its international counterparts, leading to technological advancement and economic growth.