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It does have a noticeable effect. That effect is what was measured. Spacetime is not "powerful." It is affected by tiny amounts of matter and energy.
If guessing if a gravitational wave has no noticeable effect on spacetime then spacetime is much more powerful than gravity?
However I'm wondering if a gravitational wave passing through Earth caused a mere fraction of a diameter of spacetime to squeeze and stretch? How long does it take for the wave to pass completely through our planet? What happens in spacetime at an atomic level? How do atoms react to gravitational waves?