Scientists in the US have today announced what could be the biggest breakthrough in physics in a hundred years. Specifically, they claim to have
at last detected gravitational waves, the enigmatic and elusive ripples in the fabric
of spacetime that Albert Einstein first predicted in
1916, in his theory of general relativity.
ESA's LISA Pathfinder experiment has successfully launched atop a Vega rocket from the agency's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, and completed initial maneuvers required to place the probe in a low, stable orbit. The experiment will seek to observe tiny ripples in space known as gravitational waves, which were first predicted by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity.
Having failed to achieve their intended orbit following a launch in August 2014, a pair of ESA Galileo satellites are being re-tasked to test Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. More precisely, the satellites will examine the effects of gravity on the passage of time, observing the phenomenon in a detail four times greater than any previous mission.