space.  What is the Euclid spacecraft that the European Space Agency presented this Tuesday?

space. What is the Euclid spacecraft that the European Space Agency presented this Tuesday?

Finally unlocking the secrets of… Dark Matter: This will be the Euclid mission, which is scheduled to be launched into orbit this summer. A very ambitious mission, on matter that is still hypothetical but weighs more than a quarter of the total mass of the universe.

Giant 3D map of the universe

To achieve this, Euclid’s super telescope must create a 3D map of the universe – That’s just it, more than a third of Heaven. A map that allows us to observe billions of galaxies, “seeing” up to 10 billion light-years away. This is the distance that light travels, 300,000 kilometers per second, in 10 billion years.

Thus Euclid will explore how the universe expanded and how its structure shaped over cosmic history, revealing more about the role of gravity and the nature of dark energy and dark matter.

To achieve this, the satellite will study galaxies located at various distances from Earth using a telescope with a diameter of 1.2 meters, which carries two instruments: the Visible Light Observing Imager (VIS) and the Spectro – Near Infrared Imager (NISP). Euclid would cover an area of ​​sky equivalent to more than 35% of the celestial sphere.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), “the mission will take advantage of the effect of weak gravitational lensing,” which should allow “scientists to reconstruct the last billion years of the history of the expansion of the universe, in order to estimate the acceleration due to mysterious dark energy with an accuracy of 1%; and also Any differences in acceleration with an accuracy of 10%.

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100% European Mission

A 100% European mission, led by the European Space Agency, Euclid nonetheless benefits from contributions from the US agency NASA, which has provided NISP’s near-infrared detectors.

The Euclid Consortium (more than 2,000 scientists from 300 institutes in 13 European countries, the United States, Canada and Japan) provided scientific tools and scientific data analysis. The satellite and service module was designed and built by Thales Alenia Space. Airbus Defense and Space is responsible for the payload module, including the telescope itself.

Originally, Euclid was to be launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket…but due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is the SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher that will do it. The launch is expected in the summer of 2023.

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