‘Tianqin’ starts infrastructure construction
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