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Media representatives are invited to a briefing on the first results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission, a technology demonstrator for the observation of gravitational waves from space.

The media briefing is being organised by the European Space Agency at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday, 7 June, 11:30–13:00 CEST. Doors open at 11:00 CEST.

Launched in December 2015, LISA Pathfinder travelled to its operational orbit, 1.5 million km from Earth towards the Sun, where it started its scientific mission on 1 March. At the core of the spacecraft, two identical gold–platinum cubes, are being held in the most precise freefall ever produced in space.

ESA Lisa 2Placing the test masses in a motion subject only to gravity is the challenging condition needed to build and operate a future space mission to observe gravitational waves. Predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago, gravitational waves are fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime, which were recently detected directly for the first time by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

Over the first two months of scientific operations, the LISA Pathfinder team has performed a number of experiments on the test masses to prove the feasibility of gravitational wave observation from space. These results will be presented at the media briefing.

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