New Delhi April 9 2023: India’s Cabinet has sanctioned a Rupees 26 billion (US dollars 317.6 million) project to build a Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Hingoli in Maharashtra state.
When completed and commissioned in 2030, it will only be the fifth such LIGO in the world to detect gravitational waves caused by the movement of planets and stars in space.
The process is based on legendary scientist Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, one of the foundations of modern physics. The discovery of gravitational waves by two LIGOs in the US eight years ago received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017.
LIGO-India, which has been set up to execute the project, said the sanction by the Cabinet promises breakthrough research to address questions in both physics and astronomy and extract information from enigmatic objects in our universe: black holes, neutron stars, supernovae, even the Big Bang.
The four existing LIGOs are in Hanford and Livingston in the US, in Santo Stefano a Macerata in Italy and near Hida City in Japan.
Originally conceived to be completed in 2024, the LIGO in India in Hingoli was delayed owing to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“LIGO-India will be a unique platform that brings together in India the frontiers of science and technology of the quantum and the cosmos,” Tarun Souradeep, Director of the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, told the local media after the Cabinet decision.