LIGO-India Sets to Be India’s Biggest Facility To Probe The Universe
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory-India (LIGO-India) project, which is expected to cost Rs 2,600 crore and be completed by 2030 in Maharashtra's Hingoli, received approval from the Union Cabinet. It is the greatest scientific facility in India and will support international efforts to explore the universe by detecting and analysing gravitational waves, which Einstein's Theory of General Relativity predicted would exist. In the US, there are already two such LIGO observatories. The third such cutting-edge gravitational-wave observatory in the global network will be LIGO-India.
In addition to carrying information about their origins and suggestions about the nature of gravity, gravitational waves are cosmic ripples that travel at the speed of light. According to physicists, cataclysmic events like colliding black holes, dying stars bursting, and colliding neutron stars produce the strongest gravitational waves. Understanding some of the most fundamental scientific laws, including the origin and evolution of galaxies, black holes, and the ability to witness the universe just a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, is made easier by the study of gravitational waves.
It is a global network of research facilities designed to find gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time left by the movement of massive astronomical objects like planets and stars. Gravitational waves were first identified by two American-based LIGO observatories in 2015, more than a century after they were initially proposed in Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which encompasses the most recent understanding of how gravitation operates. This experimental confirmation of the century-old idea won the Nobel Prize in Physics two years later, in 2017.
LIGO-India is a part of the strategy to broaden the network of gravitational wave observatories in order to raise the likelihood of finding gravitational waves from everywhere in the observable universe and to enhance the precision and calibre of the data derived from them. It is planned to be a joint undertaking between a group of Indian research institutions and the US LIGO Laboratory, along with other international collaborators. The Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Science and Technology will construct the LIGO-India project, and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with the National Science Foundation in the US as well as numerous other national and international research and academic institutions. The fields of gravitation, relativity, astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics, and nuclear physics could all benefit from the knowledge gained by LIGO India.
The necessity of creating a wider worldwide network of gravitational wave detectors is the main driving force behind the construction of a third LIGO interferometer. To get the most out of gravitational waves, find sources, test theories of gravity, space, and time, and find solutions to astrophysical and cosmological questions, a network of widely dispersed facilities is required. Although a gravitational wave signal can be identified by two detectors in a network, such as those in Livingston and Washington, they are unable to pinpoint the source or determine the wave's precise polarisation. A report from the LIGO observatory observed that while a network of three detectors can enhance polarisation information and source localization, localising a source anywhere in the sky requires simultaneous operation of four equivalent detectors across the globe. Following Virgo of Italy and KAGRA of Japan, LIGO of India will be the third detector. The probability that four detectors are active at any given time, playing a crucial role in the worldwide gravitational wave detection network, will be greatly increased.
India might establish itself as a hub for gravitational physics research, which would help with training and the use of advanced control systems and precision technologies, ultimately establishing India's reputation for effectively managing experimental Big Science projects. Here, the first demand is the prompt release of cash for building, followed by the prompt delivery of the assigned resources. LIGO-India can show that it has the capacity to thoughtfully consider how Indian society interacts with science by utilising the possibilities provided by Big Science.