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Irchel campus, Zurich – 29/30 June 2017
The mission tested technologies needed for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), an ESA gravitational wave observatory planned to be launched in 2034. In April 2016 ESA announced that LISA Pathfinder demonstrated that the LISA mission is feasible.
The Space-Time Explorer and QUantum Equivalence Principle Space Test (STE-QUEST) was a candidate mission for the M3 launch opportunity in ESA's Cosmic Vision programme. The mission was designed to answer a range of questions in fundamental physics by performing precision measurements with high accuracy atomic sensors. In particular, STE-QUEST would test Einstein's Equivalence Principle, which underpins the theory of General Relativity; explore the boundaries with the quantum world; and search for new fundamental constituents and interactions in the Universe.
One of the basic postulates of the theory of general relativity is the Einstein equivalence principle (EEP). As a direct consequence of the EEP, time runs more slowly near massive bodies. This effect can be detected when comparing time intervals measured by identical clocks at different depths in a gravitational field.
The Einstein gravitational red-shift probe (E-GRIP) is envisaged to be a space mission with the aim to test and improve the verification of the EEP based on precise gravitational red-shift measurements.