NASA Provides Detectors For ESA's Euclid Spacecraft To Study Dark Matter And Dark Energy

First Posted: May 11, 2017 05:30 AM EDT

NASA delivers three detector systems to ESA's Euclid spacecraft. The Euclid mission aims to study and investigate all about the universe including the properties and effects of dark energy and dark matter.

Euclid spacecraft is slated to be launched in 2020. It will carry two instruments, namely the visible-light imager (VIS) and the near-infrared spectrometer and photometer (NISP). It also has a telescope with the special light-splitting plate that could make incoming light to be shared by the two instruments. With this, they could carry out observations at the same time, according to NASA.

Michael Seiffert, the NASA Euclid project scientist based at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, said that the distribution of these detector systems is a milestone for what they hope will be an extremely exciting mission. This is the first space mission to examine the strange and invisible phenomena of dark energy, as noted by NDTV.

Euclid spacecraft will investigate galaxies and why the universe is escalating at an increasing pace. It is theorized that dark energy is to blame for this effect.

Dark energy in astronomy is a strange type of energy that could tend to accelerate the expansion of the universe. This means that it triggers the expansion of the universe at an accelerating rate as hypothesized. In the standard model of cosmology, the measurements of dark energy could be gauged by about 68.3 percent of the total energy in the observable universe at present time.

Meanwhile, the detector system comprises a detector, a cable and a "readout electronic chip" that transforms infrared light to data signals. These are read by an onboard computer and return to Earth for examination and analysis. There is a total of 16 detectors that will fly together with Euclid. They are composed of 2040 by 2040 pixels.

The NISP detector systems were developed by Teledyne Imaging Sensors of Camarillo, California. They were examined and investigated at JPL and at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, according to NASA.

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