Gravitational waves were first proposed by Albert Einstein in 1916 as part of his general theory of relativity.
Over the last 100 years, they have been the focus of intense scientific study and research, culminating in their actual detection in 2015. Scientists around the world have since been racing to build the world’s largest and most sensitive gravitational wave detectors so that they can simply detect ever-weaker signals.
Building the Newest Planar European Detector
The European Space Agency (ESA) has a long and ambitious plan to build the world’s largest and most sensitive ground-based gravitational wave detector: the Planar European Detector (PED). The project is the joint effort of over 400 scientists and engineers from over 30 universities, research centres and companies across the European Union.
The aim of PED is to establish a detection facility that can measure and observe the small-scale properties of the gravitational wave field, providing an unprecedented window into the universe beyond our own. It will consist of two orthogonal arms, each measuring several thousand kilometres in scope. The arms will span a vast area of over 2,000 sq. kilometres, making it the largest terrestrial gravitational wave detector ever built.
Determining the Benefits from the New Detector
The PED detector will enable researchers to test general relativity with an unprecedented accuracy, as well as better understand the physics beyond the standard model of particle physics. It will also allow scientists to test many of the theoretical predictions about the behavior of black holes, neutron stars and other exotic objects in the universe.
The detector will also allow researchers to observe astrophysical phenomena that are beyond the reach of traditional telescopes. This includes supermassive stars as well as galactic magnetic fields, which cannot be observed with traditional telescopes. With the data obtained from the PED detector, scientists will be able to determine more accurate models of the universe, and will help them better understand dark matter and dark energy.
Furthermore, the PED detector will allow scientists to measure signals at much higher frequencies than were previously achievable. This will enable the study of perturbations in the cosmic fabric of space-time that are created by the very smallest elementary particles in the universe.
Funding and Cost Considerations
The PED project is expected to require over €760 million in funding from the European Union and its member states, as well as private companies and research foundations. It will take multiple years for the project to be completed, as all of the necessary permits and infrastructure must be in place before the detector can begin operation.
The cost will also include the construction of a series of superstations and several data centres so that the data collected by the detector can be processed and analysed. In addition, the project will require the installation of a vast and complex array of antennas, detectors and computers to track the signals sent by the gravitational waves.
The Planar European Detector will be equipped with two independent arrays of antennas and receivers, measuring several thousand kilometres each. The antennas in each array will be distributed along a sparse grid, with each antenna being separated by up to 4 kilometres in some areas. This is necessary to ensure clear and precise observations of the gravitational waves.
The detector will use a variety of technologies, including seismometers, magnetometers, lasers, radar and optical detectors, as well as sophisticated software to track and detect the faint, millisecond-long ripples in the space-time fabric. The sheer volume of data collected by the detector each week is estimated to be 1.5 petabytes.
The data gathered by the detectors will be analysed by a team of experts in gravitational wave research. The team will use advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to process the data and identify weak signals from gravitational wave sources.
The data will also be shared with scientific partners around the world for further analysis and study. This will allow researchers to explore various aspects of the gravitational wave field, from its large-scale structure to its small-scale properties and the physical phenomena associated with it.
The Planar European Detector (PED) is an ambitious and expensive project that promises to provide a newwindow into the universe beyond our own. With funding provided by the European Union and its member states, as well as private companies and research foundations, it is expected to open up new possibilities in gravitational wave research and exploration.
The project will also allow researchers to test the limits of general relativity and to explore exotic dwarf stars, galaxies, supermassive stars and other phenomena beyond the reach of traditional telescopes. The PED detector is expected to revolutionize our understanding of the universe, and will help us to uncover some of its mysteries and secrets.