Govt gives in-principle approval for LIGO-India project

New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) Days after the discovery of gravitational waves, the government today gave an "in-principle approval" for establishing a state-of-the-art LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) project in the country.

The LIGO-India project 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.

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.

"The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its 'in-principle' approval to the LIGO-India mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves. The proposal, known as LIGO-India project (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India) is piloted by Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Science and Technology (DST).

"The approval coincides with the historic detection of gravitational waves a few days ago that opened up of a new window to the universe to unravel some of its greatest mysteries," a government statement said.

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.

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.

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