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Unraveling the Mysteries of Dark Energy with the Euclid Mission Telescope

Satellite Technology

Satellite Technology Feature Article

January 28, 2013

Unraveling the Mysteries of Dark Energy with the Euclid Mission Telescope

By David Gitonga, TMCnet Contributing Writer

How did our present universe come about? What does dark matter and energy, which make up over 90 percent of our universe, have to do with it?

These and other questions have always perplexed astronomers and space enthusiasts. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) hope to unravel these mysteries of the universe through a joint space collaboration known as the ESA’s Euclid mission.

Actually a space telescope scheduled to be launched in 2020, the Euclid mission is expected to help astronomers understand the role of dark matter and energy in the evolution of the universe. NASA’s contribution to the mission will include six infrared detectors and four spare detectors.

The organization has also nominated a team of scientists to participate in the Euclid consortium in the analyzing of data that will be collected.

Euclid will be positioned at a point in space where the Earth and Sun’s gravity maintain the telescope in a stationary orbit relative to the Earth and Sun. At this point, known as Lagrange point L2, Euclid will remain suspended, collecting data for at least six years. Over that time, it will map about two billion galaxies, comprising about 75 percent of the history of the universe, expected to help scientists understand the role of dark matter and energy in the universe.

Scientists also hope to understand why gravity has not slowed the expansion of the universe.

Scientists seek to understand the distinct gravitational effects of dark matter, as well as its properties not well understood since it doesn’t interact with light. Dark energy is known to be responsible for the expansion of the universe, but more precise measurements are needed to figure out exactly what this hypothetical form of energy is.

The Euclid mission is expected to help scientists answer some of these questions and hopefully bring us closer to understanding our origins and the fate of the cosmos.

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Edited by Braden Becker

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