Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity will be put to the test by a research team that has buried a laser based gyroscope into the earth. The instrument is meant to make the measurement based on the earth's rotation.
According to Wired, a prototype of the underground experiment has been created by the research team from the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). The experiment will measure the subtlety of earth during its rotation, as it involves space and time around itself. The relativistic effect caused during this subtlety is known as the "Lense-Thirring effect".
The tiny effect on earth was first predicted by Einstein in 1918. Scientists first measured it in 1998 when they experienced shifts in the orbits of two earth-orbiting satellites. As the new research suggests, the ground-based observatory will indicate an "inertial reference frame", which means the instrument measures activities in relation to the earth's rotation. Researchers are confident that the prototype will be able to measure the earth rotation rate vector with a relative accuracy at least a single part per billion inside a few hours of measurement time.
According to Phys.org, the prototype for measuring the Theory of Relativity named "GINGERino" has been installed inside the INFN's underground laboratory, the LNGS. The underground placement of the instrument has been adjudged by the researchers as essential to get as deep as possible in the earth, far away from the disturbances of hydrology, temperature or barometric pressure, as they can interrupt the measurements. The instrument has been installed in an area with high seismic activities in central Italy, so it can explain the seismic rotations occurring due to nearby earthquakes.
Researchers put "GINGERino" inside the earth in an isolation chamber with increased temperature via infrared lamps with a constant voltage to check the natural relative humidity around the instrument. The instrument is now operational along with seismic equipment provided by the Italian Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, which acts as a rotational seismic observatory.
The ultimate goal of the instrument is to retrieve information regarding the relativistic measurements that occur due to seismic surface wave's phase velocity on earth. The same information to be acquired by conventional seismology takes a higher number of seismometers to be installed.