Artist rendering of the LISAPathfinder spacecraft and its propulsion module. (Photo by European Space Agency)
TAMPA (CBS Tampa) – In a few decades, scientists may be able to solve one of the biggest mysteries in the universe.
A new spacecraft will allow astronomers to “see” black holes for the first time.
The European Space Agency plans to launch the LISA pathfinder mission.
It’s outfitted with special sensors that can detect gravity waves.
While no one has ever seen a gravity wave, it is one of the weird phenomena predicted by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.
Like ripples on a pond, astronomers believe gravity waves are echoes of the expansion of the young universe. They may also be created when black holes form.
This mission is being used to test the sensors and other measuring equipment.
The European Space Agency plans to launch an even more sophisticated spacecraft in 2034.
NASA teaches that black holes are formed when a massive star dies. Without the nuclear fuel to keep it shining, gravity takes over and the star shrinks. If there is enough mass, the material shrinks to a single point of gravity so intense, that not even light can escape.
Once the technology is perfected, scientists hope to get a direct look at black holes and learn more about these tantalizing objects.