Fr.: test masse
Any of a pair of identical 1.96 kg gold-platinum cubes measuring 4.6 cm on a side that are planned to be used in the → eLISA experiment to detect → gravitational waves. The test masses will be released in → free fall in the the → LISA Pathfinder spacecraft. The aim is to test methods and techniques that will be used in the eLISA experiment to detect gravitational waves. Even in space there are forces capable of disturbing the cubes, including the radiation and wind from the Sun. Hence the test masses need be isolated from all of these non-gravitational influences. To do so, LISA Pathfinder continually measures their positions and manoeuvres around them with microthrusters to avoid ever touching them.