#UK European Space Agency launches probe to test gravity mission


BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency says it has successfully launched a probe that will test technology for a future mission to measure gravitational waves.

The probe was lifted into orbit from ESA’s space port in French Guiana shortly after 0104 local time (0404 GMT) Thursday. It separated from the Vega rocket about two hours later.

The LISA Pathfinder probe will now travel to a position in space 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) from Earth before it begins operations in January.

Scientists hope the $450-million mission will demonstrate that it’s possible to shield objects from external influences well enough to detect the minute effects of gravitational waves caused by massive black holes and pairs of tiny, dense stars called white dwarfs.


Mission website: http://ift.tt/1QSd7za

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