This year promises to be a very important year for the space-based gravitational wave community. In the second half of this year we will see the launch of LISA Pathfinder and the expected first Advanced LIGO observing run!
At the same time, the NASA Gravitational Wave Science Interest Group (GWSIG), also has a lot on its plate. On January 1st Guido Mueller’s appointment to the Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group (PhysPAG) Executive Committee concluded and John Conklin, also from the University of Florida, has filled his vacant slot. Neil Cornish, the second PhysPAG EC member from our community will assume the GWSIG chairmanship.
At the 225th American Astronomical Society meeting held in January of this year, Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division, charged the three NASA Program Analysis Groups, including the PhysPAG, with the task of evaluating a draft list of large astrophysics missions that NASA’s intends to study in support of the 2020 decadal survey.
The space-based gravitational wave observatory, LISA, was excluded from this short-list because NASA is in the process of initiating a partnership with the European Space Agency’s Evolved LISA or eLISA mission, scheduled for launch in 2034. For more info on eLISA see the webpage.
The PAGs, with input from all of the Science Interest Groups, including the Gravitational Wave SIG, is charged with evaluating the potential of each of these missions and perhaps adding or subtracting from the list.
With all of these activities, including the opportunity to participate in the selection of NASA’s next flagship astrophysics mission, now is a good time to join the GWSIG. If you are interested in getting involved or helping to promote the great science of LISA, please join our mailing list by following the instructions here.
John Conklin (GWSIG vice-chair)
Neil Cornish (GWSIG chair)