Surfing Gravity Waves

Science is full of long-shot experiments, like SETI’s search for extra-terrestrial life or CERN’s search for the Higg’s Boson (an experiment which should wrap up soon).  There’s also the search for gravity waves, and research instillations all over the world are trying find them even though they’re supposed to be next to impossible to detect.

Albert Einstein first predicted gravity waves as part of his theory of relativity.  If you drop a large stone into still water, the water ripples.  In the same way, when something big happens in the universe, such as the collision of two black holes, it should cause space itself to ripple.  Using sensitive equipment spread across the world, scientists hope to detect these ripples in space.

There are currently three gravity wave detectors in the United States and others scattered all over the world.  Officials recently announced plans for a new one in India.  The more detectors the better because while an earthquake might accidentally set off a few only a gravity wave would trigger them all.

If researchers do detect a gravity wave, it will give them an opportunity to study gravity in a whole new way.  I have no idea what kinds of things they could learn, but as a science fiction writer I can always make stuff up.  They might discover a way to create artificial gravity or maybe even antigravity.  Or perhaps, if it’s possible to generate artificial gravity waves, we could ride them like surfers and travel all over the galaxy.

For more on gravity waves, click here.  For more on the plans for the new gravity wave detector in India, click here.

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