ESA is racing to complete the launch of the Euclid spacecraft into space in a few months to explore mysterious dark matter and its energy.
Dark matter and dark energy make up 95% of the universe, but until now astronomers have not been able to fully understand them, a gap in knowledge that project leader Euclid Giuseppe Racca , calls “cosmic shame”.
To uncover this dark secret, the European Space Agency (ESA) mission will map two billion galaxies in 3D over more than a third of the sky. With a view spanning 10 billion light years, Euclid will provide insight into the evolution of the 13.8 billion-year-old universe.
The Euclid spacecraft at a facility in Cannes, France.
Euclid spacecraft inside a facility in Cannes, France. (Photo: ESA).
The first images of Euclid have just been published by the ESA this week. The vessel weighs 2 tonnes, measures 4.7m high and 3.5m wide, currently resting quietly in a sterilization room at space company Thales Alenia in the town of Cannes, southeastern France, but in just a few months it will fly into space. to search for dark matter and energy.
The Euclid project team is currently conducting some final tests before moving the spacecraft to Cape Canaveral, United States, for a planned launch July 1-30 on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
Euclid was initially scheduled to fly on a Russian Soyuz rocket, but last year Moscow removed the launch pads in response to European sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, delaying the launch.
Like the James Webb Space Telescope, Euclid will be placed in a stable orbit about 1.5 million kilometers above Earth, called Second Lagrangian point (L2) of the Earth-Sun system, where the gravitational force of the two celestial bodies and the centrifugal force balance each other.
Racca said the ESA spacecraft would soon send its first images in October, but for larger discoveries, scientists could take months or even years to examine them.unprecedented amount of data.
ESA completes final tests to launch Euclid in July 2023
ESA is completing final tests to launch Euclid in July 2023. (Photo: ESA).
According to the plan, the Euclid mission, costing $1.5 billion, will last until at least 2029 and can be extended for several more years. “if nothing strange happens”.
Dark matter cannot be seen with the naked eye, so how did Euclid look for it? The answer lies in the absence of dark matter.
Visible light traveling billions of years ago would have been slightly distorted along the way by dark matter, a phenomenon scientists call “weak gravitational lensing”.
“By subtracting visible matter, we can calculate the presence of dark matter in between”Racca explained.
To do this, the Euclid space probe has two main instruments: a 1.2 m diameter telescope and a near-infrared spectrometer (NISP) capable of separating infrared wavelengths invisible to the naked eye.
David Elbaz, an astrophysicist at France’s Atomic Energy Commission, said part of what sets the ESA spacecraft apart from other space telescopes is that its field of view covers a similar area. “two full moons”.
Scientist René Laureijs, who has worked on the project since its proposal phase in 2007, said AFP that this wide view will allow Euclid to locate giant structures such as black holes that the web telescope cannot find due to “the field of vision is too small”. The data collected by Euclid will point Webb in the right direction for further inspection.
Article source: VnExpress
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ESA is recently rushing to complete the Euclid spacecraft which will be launched into space in a few months to explore dark matter and energy…