LISA Pathfinder vs Solar System Dust

  • Released Monday, November 18th, 2019
  • Updated Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 at 12:13AM
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LISA Pathfinder, a mission led by ESA (the European Space Agency) that included NASA contributions, successfully demonstrated technologies needed to build a future space-based gravitational wave observatory, a tool for detecting ripples in space-time produced by, among other things, merging black holes. A team of NASA scientists leveraged LISA Pathfinder's record-setting sensitivity to map microscopic dust shed by comets and asteroids.

These animations follow the trajectory of LISA Pathfinder from Earth to its working "halo" orbit around Sun-Earth L1, a gravitational balance point about 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth in the sun's direction, and show the locations of 54 dust impacts detected during the mission.



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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


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