File photo shows the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana, the United States. U.S. scientists said Thursday they have detected the existence of gravitational waves, which were predicted by Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity 100 years ago. (Xinhua/Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab)
Chinese scientists announced on Tuesday a research program "Taiji" that will study gravitational waves from the merging of binary black holes and other celestial bodies.
Hu Wenrui, chief scientist of the program, announced the launch of three satellites to detect gravitational waves around 2030 and complementary research with the European Space Agency (ESA) laser interferometer space antenna (LISA) project, which plans to launch satellites around 2035.
The discovery of gravitational waves announced by the LIGO Collaboration last week has encouraged scientists worldwide to accelerate their research.
Unlike the LIGO research conducted from a ground-based observatory, Taiji and LISA will observe the waves from space.
As a Chinese term for the "supreme ultimate", taiji is familiar as the black and white circular representing yin and yang.
Several research teams are working on gravitational waves with different methods and objectives.
Su Meng, a Chinese researcher at the department of physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the different pitches of ripple-like waves from all around space play the grand symphony of the universe.
Su compared the different frequencies of gravitational waves to the wide range of voice registers in music. For example, he refers to LIGO's newly discovered gravitational waves from a pair of merging black holes as "high-pitched voice."
"The binary star system composed by objects like neutrons and stellar-mass black holes usually radiates gravitational waves of high frequency from tens to thousands hertz," he explains.
The space-based gravitational wave detector developed by Taiji and LISA will be sensitive at much lower frequencies, which Su regarded as the "mid-high notes" of the universe.
"Tianqin," another domestic gravitational wave research plan, which also focuses on finding "notes" like Taiji, was initiated by the Sun Yat-sen University in July 2015 and designed to be carried out in four stages.
Taiji, Tianqin and LISA will launch several satellites to detect the waves.