European Space Agency To Study Dark Energy In New Mission

First Posted: Jun 15, 2016 04:10 AM EDT

The Euclid mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) is reportedly geared up to study the mysterious nature of dark energy and dark matter. The plan of the mission was first put forward in 2007 and then chosen by ESA in 2011 as part of its Cosmic Vision program. As per recent reports, the mission will be launched in 2020 and the spacecraft will be placed on our planet's orbit at a distance of lagrangian point 2 (L2) or 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.

The Euclid spacecraft will be outfitted with a telescope measuring 1.2 meters in diameter that will add to the performance of a near infrared spectrometer/camera and a visible light spectrum camera onboard the space gadget. The Euclid mission is planned for six years, during which the spacecraft will observe two billion galaxies in 3D, as well as analyze the dark energy and dark matter linked to them.

NASA will also make important contributions to the mission. "We are excited for the opportunity to contribute the critical detector component for Euclid's near-infrared instrument and look forward to working closely with ESA on this important mission," said Ulf Israelsson, Euclid project manager at NASA.

Scientists believe that 27 percent of the observable universe is comprised of dark matter, but it is invisible because it does not interact with or emit electromagnetic radiation. Furthermore, even the most advanced and complex telescopes cannot detect dark matter, however its existence is estimated by its interaction with gravity. Dark energy is an indefinite energy form that is abundant in space and leads to the expansion and acceleration of the Universe, and researchers have estimated it to account for nearly 68 percent of the universe's total energy.

The Euclid mission will observe the location, motion and structure of two billion galaxies across the Universe which will enable scientists to collect significant information to understand the presence of dark energy and dark matter. The data gathered by the mission will help in predicting measurements of the particles, the accuracy of which could help solve one of the biggest enigmas as well as "map the geometry of the dark Universe".

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