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LISA Science Objectives

LISA Science Objectives and Investigations

The science obejctives for LISA describe the science that LISA is intended to provide. The subsequent investigations highlight the ways of obtaining the science by evaluating the LISA science data. The science objectives are discussed in more detail in the LISA Science Requirement Document and in the LISA Science Survey.

1. Trace the formation, growth, and merger history of massive black holes
1.1 Trace the formation, growth, and merger history of intermediate-mass black holes and massive black holes out to redshift z = 15
1.2 Determine the merger history of massive black holess with masses of 104 Msol – 3×105 Msol from the era of the earliest known quasars, z ∼ 6
1.3 Determine the merger history of massive black holes with masses between 3×106 Msol and 107 Msol at later epochs, z < 6
2. Explore stellar populations and dynamics in galactic nuclei
2.1. Characterize the immediate environment of massive black holes in z < 1 galactic nuclei from extreme mass-ratio inspiral capture signals.
2.2. Study intermediate-mass black holes from their capture signals.
2.3. Improve our understanding of stars and gas in the vicinity of Galactic black holes using coordinated gravitational and electromagnetic observations.
3. Survey compact stellar-mass binaries and study the structure of the Galaxy
3.1. Elucidate the formation and evolution of Galactic stellar-mass binaries: constrain the diffuse extragalactic foreground.
3.2. Determine the spatial distribution of stellar mass binaries in the Milky Way and environs.
3.3. Improve our understanding of white dwarfs, their masses, and their interactions in binaries and enable combined gravitational and electromagnetic observations.
4. Confront General Relativity with observations
5.1. Detect gravitational waves directly and measure their properties precisely.
5.2. Test whether the central massive objects in galactic nuclei are the black holes of general relativity.
5.3. Make precision tests of dynamical strong-field gravity.
5. Probe new physics and cosmology with gravitational waves
5.1. Study cosmic expansion history, geometry and dark energy using precise gravitationally calibrated distances in cases where redshifts are measured.
5.2. Measure the spectrum of, or set bounds on, cosmological backgrounds.
5.3. Search for burst events from cosmic string cusps.
5.4 Search for unforeseen sources of gravitational waves

Oliver Jennrich, 31 Jan 2011
     Copyright © 2015 European Space Agency. All rights reserved.
This page was first created on 6 February, 2007 and was last updated on 31 January, 2011.
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