Michele's blog

Twelve years of LISA (a top-ten list)


Artist's impression of the eLISA "mother" spacecraft

I spent the last week at the 10th LISA Symposium in Gainesville, Florida. The general mood of the conference was one of impatience—the European Space Agency will launch LISA Pathfinder next year, and it has formally approved a large mission (very probably eLISA) to detect low-frequency gravitational waves in space, but with a distant launch date of 2034. Space-based GWs are still a priority for NASA, but for the moment we don't have any concrete plans to join Europe or to fly our own mission. Personally, I have been doing no LISA-related work since last summer, a definite break after dedicating more than ten years to this mission; I attended the conference as a LIGO representative, giving a presentation about the up-and-coming LIGO Open Science Center (more about this soon).

Nevertheless, the Symposium was a great occasion to hang out with old colleagues, some of them dear friends, and to be reminded that the science case for observing gravitational waves in space is still very strong, just like the technological readiness of LISA-like missions. In this vein, I compiled a list of what I consider my top-ten contributions to LISA, and I offer it below. I do believe that some of this work will ultimately benefit a spaceborne detector, whenever and wherever it flies. (For more details, follow the links to my research pages.)

  1. The eLISA Java applet
  2. Lots of work planning LISA data-analysis (just look at that picture!)
  3. Lots of work on developing data-analysis methods for LISA
  4. Lots of work writing mission documents, whitepapers, and science requirements (you don't want links here)
  5. For outreach: the LISA website (now sadly archived) and brochure
  6. The lisaXML file format and the lisatools software package
  7. Lots of work on developing and evaluating LISA-like concepts (including eLISA)
  8. Work on the LISA measurement and Time-Delay Interferometry: Geometric TDI, post-processed TDI and TDI ranging
  9. The Mock LISA Data Challenges
  10. Synthetic LISA

© M. Vallisneri 2014 — last modified on 2014/05/27