China starts to build facilities for gravitational wave research

China started to build infrastructure for its gravitational wave research project “Tianqin” in the southern coastal city of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province on Sunday.

Sun Yat-sen University, initiator of the program, held a foundation stone laying ceremony for a 30,000-square-meter research building, a 10,000-square-meter ultra-quiet cave laboratory and a 5,000-square-meter observation station on its Zhuhai campus.

Meanwhile, the university is recruiting research staff for the international cooperation program dominated by Chinese scientists.

With an estimated cost of 15 billion yuan, about 2.3 billion U.S. dollars, Tianqin would be carried out in four stages over the next 15 to 20 years, ultimately launching three high-orbit satellites to detect the waves.

The discovery of gravitational waves by the American Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in February has encouraged scientists worldwide to accelerate their research.

Tianqin has two domestic competitors.

Chinese scientists announced on Feb. 16 the “Taiji” research program that will study gravitational waves from the merging of binary black holes and other celestial bodies.

Another domestic gravitational wave project “Ali,” has different objectives, namely, detecting the first tremors of the Big Bang, primordial gravitational waves.

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