India and US will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today for building a state-of-the-art LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational - wave Observatory) project in the country, almost a month after the discovery of gravitational waves. The MoU will be signed between the National Science Foundation USA and India’s Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Science and Technology. DAE secretary Sekhar Basu will be signing the agreement in USA today.
The MoU also states of forming a Joint Oversight Group (JOG) with the scientists from NSF, DAE and DST for better coordination of the project. The government last month gave an “in-principle approval” for establishing the LIGO-India project which will establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave observatory in India in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the US, run by Caltech and MIT. (Also read. LIGO India could be operational by 2023: US scientist)
The project will bring unprecedented opportunities for scientists and engineers to dig deeper into the realm of gravitational wave and take global leadership in this new astronomical frontier. A meeting to decide the site for setting up the laboratory in India will be take place by April 10.
LIGO-India will also bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for the Indian industry which will be engaged in the construction of an 8 km-long beam tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain. Indian scientists too played a crucial role in the recent discovery. (Also read. Go, LIGO-India go where no one has gone before!)
The machines that gave scientists their first-ever glimpse at gravitational waves are the most advanced detectors ever built for sensing tiny vibrations in the universe. The two US-based underground detectors are known as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO for short. One is located in Hanford, Washington and the other in Livingston, Louisiana.