Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Gravitational-Wave Research Seminar
The GRACE Follow-On Laser Ranging Interferometer
Brent Ware, JPL
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites have successfully monitored the gravity profile of the Earth for over a decade. Using microwave ranging, GRACE observes the Earth's environment via measurement of gravity changes due to shifting water masses - giving insight into global climate change over long time scales. Now that GRACE is reaching the end of its lifetime, GRACE Follow-On (GFO) is being built to take its place. GFO is a build-to-blueprint replacement of GRACE, with the addition of a nanometer-precision laser interferometer demonstration experiment.
In a partnership between NASA and Germany, the Laser Ranging Interferometer (LRI) on GRACE Follow-On is based on technology developed for gravitational wave detection by the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). The LRI implements one arm of the three arm LISA observatory. Between the ESA Pathfinder mission and GFO LRI, many of the elements of a picometer-sensitivity space-based gravitational wave detector will be demonstrated in space.