On 6th April 2023, the Union Cabinet of the Government of India headed by Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi approved the LIGO-India(Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India) mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves.
- The LIGO-India project will establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave observatory in Hingoli, Maharashtra(India) in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the United States of America(USA).
- The LIGO project is piloted by the Department of Atomic Energy(DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The project worth Rs 2600 crore is estimated to be built by 2030.
Note: LIGO Laboratory is a consortium of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT).
i.The in-principle approval for the project was given by the Union Cabinet of India in February 2016.
ii.Around 300 acres of land have been acquired for the project.
iii.Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, announced that 174 acres of land have been acquired in the Aundha area of Hingoli district in Maharashtra for the LIGO-India project.
iv.The environment clearance for the project has been given and the geo-technical survey for the project is also done.
v.A board will also be established to monitor the project.
The LIGO is a giant L-shaped instrument. Each arm of the ‘L’ is 4 kilometres (Km) long.
i.Two laser pulses are shot through each arm at the same time, and they bounce off a mirror at the end to return to the vertex. A detector checks whether the pulses return at the same time.
ii.When a gravitational wave passes through the detector, the pulses are slightly out of time. Researchers use this and other signals to detect, record, and study gravitational waves.
i.LIGO-India will be the 3rd advanced gravitational-wave observatory established as part of the worldwide network.
- 2 such LIGO observatories are already been established in Louisiana and Washington in the USA.
ii.LIGO India is envisaged as a collaborative project between a consortium of Indian research institutions and the LIGO laboratory in the USA and its partners.
iii.LIGO-India will be built by DAE and DST with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the U.S. National Science Foundation and several national and international research institutions.
iv.The key components of the lab worth USD 80 million (Rs 560 crore) are provided by the USA.
LIGO-India will contribute to anticipated astronomical and astrophysical gains from the global LIGO network.
About the Ministry of Science and Technology(MoST):
Minister of State(Independent Charge)– Dr. Jitendra Singh(Constituency – Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir)
Secretary (DST)– Dr. S. Chandrasekhar