Laser Interferometer Space Antenna

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna ( LISA ) was a planned interferometric gravitational wave detector in space, which should be developed as a joint mission of ESA and NASA. Because of budget cuts, the mission was abandoned by NASA in 2011. An international consortium of scientists has now developed the project eLISA based on LISA, which will can be implemented exclusively with European funding. This mission was taken by ESA as L3 mission under the theme "The gravitational universe " in further planning. The launch is announced for 2034.

Gravitational waves were predicted theoretically by Albert Einstein, but have so far ( May 2013) can not be directly detected experimentally. eLISA will be most sensitive in the frequency range between 0.1 mHz and 1 Hz and differs fundamentally from ground-based detectors, which can only examine higher frequencies.

ELISA consists of an array of three spacecraft that orbit in the form of a nearly equilateral triangle behind the Earth along the Earth's orbit around the sun. The distance from the earth amounts to approximately 50 million kilometers. The satellite, together with a laser interferometer arm length of one million kilometers.

ELISA will be sensitive to gravitational waves from supermassive black holes in a large part of the observable universe. Possibly also those waves will be detectable, probably added from the Big Bang. Also possibly to changes in the space-time in HM Cancri can be measured.

Key technologies for eLISA will be tested starting in 2015 over 12 months with the mission LISA Pathfinder (LPF ). The heart of LISA Pathfinder was finally tested at the University of Glasgow and is now integrated into the LISA Technology Package.

In order to reduce costs, in particular the length of the arms of 5 million kilometers 1 million kilometers was reduced, the satellites will be launched into space on Soyuz rockets and eLISA / NGO is to save fuel, not slowed down, but from the earth drift and thus can only work for a maximum of 6 years.

The eLISA / NGO project was submitted in January 2012 as one of three candidates for the Cosmic Vision program. In May 2012, the ESA, however, decided that not eLISA / NGO but the JUICE project will be pursued. On 5 May 2013, ESA has also two other so-called " Large (L -class ) missions" in view. The review eLISA / NGO is positive on November 28, 2013, it can be expected to start in 2034.