‘Tian­qin’ starts in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion

Fiji Sun - - World News - Jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Guangzhou: China started to build in­fra­struc­ture for its grav­i­ta­tional wave re­search pro­ject “Tian­qin” in the south­ern coastal city of Zhuhai on Sun­day.

Sun Yat-sen Univer­sity, ini­tia­tor of the pro­gramme, held a foun­da­tion stone lay­ing cer­e­mony for a 30,000-square-me­tre re­search build­ing, a 10,000-square-me­tre ul­tra-quiet cave lab­o­ra­tory and a 5000-square-me­tre ob­ser­a­va­tion sa­tion on its Zhuhai cam­pus. Mean­while, the univer­sity is re­cruit­ing re­search staff for the in­ter­na­tional co-op­er­a­tion pro­gramme dom­i­nated by Chi­nese sci­en­tists.

With an es­ti­mated cost of 15 bil­lion yuan (US$2.3bn, FJ$4.85bn), Tian­qin would be car­ried out in four stages over the next 15 to 20 years, ul­ti­mately launch­ing three high-or­bit satel­lites to de­tect the waves, ac­cord­ing to Li Miao, dean of the univer­sity’s in­sti­tute of as­tron­omy and space sci­ence.

The dis­cov­ery of grav­i­ta­tional waves by the Amer­i­can Laser In­ter­fer­om­e­ter Grav­i­ta­tional-wave Ob­ser­va­tory (LIGO) in Fe­bru­ary has en­cour­aged sci­en­tists world­wide to ac­cel­er­ate their re­search. Tian­qin has two do­mes­tic com­peti­tors. Chi­nese sci­en­tists an­nounced on Fe­bru­ary 16 the “Taiji” re­search pro­gramme that will study grav­i­ta­tional waves from the merg­ing of bi­nary black holes and other ce­les­tial bod­ies. An­other do­mes­tic grav­i­ta­tional wave pro­ject “Ali,” named af­ter the ground-based Chi­nese Academy of Sci­ences (CAS) ob­ser­va­tory in Ali, Ti­bet, and led by CAS high-en­ergy physics in­sti­tute, has dif­fer­ent ob­jec­tives -- de­tect­ing the first tremors of the Big Bang, pri­mor­dial grav­i­ta­tional waves. Xin­hua

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