Listening for Rings from Space

This Listening for Rings from Space activity & project also includes:

Lasers are so precise, they can detect a change the thickness of a human hair in the distance from here to the nearest star. To replicate NASA's LISA mission to measure gravitational waves in space class members build a model of a laser beam interferometer. The model mimics the way laser beams can determine the slightest change in distance between them. 

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Instructional Ideas

  • Have the class research lasers to gain more information about how they work
Classroom Considerations

  • You need a large space to test the interferometers
  • The construction requires great precision in order to detect movement

  • Includes a pattern to copy
  • Diagrams show how to construct the interferometer

  • In 2011 NASA decided not to continue with the LISA mission