India, US ink MoU for setting up LIGO observatory in India

India has signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States for setting up Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in India. LIGO is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect gravitational waves.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.

Key facts

  • The agreement was signed between the US’s National Science Foundation (NSF) and India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • As part of the agreement, the scientists of DAE, DST and NSF will form a Joint Oversight Group (JOG) for better coordination of the project.

Background

Earlier in February 2016, the Union Cabinet had approved Rs 1200 crores for the LIGO India project. It will be third LIGO interferometer in the world and it is expected to be functional by 2023. It will significantly improve the ability of scientists to pinpoint the sources of gravitational waves and analyse the signals.

Presently there are twin LIGO Observatories at Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana. They are funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and were conceived, built, and are operated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Caltech.

For more information: (i) Cabinet Approval (ii) Gravitational Waves

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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