Euclid Space Telescope Begins Exciting Mission To Unlock Mysteries Of Dark Matter

hero esa euclid spacecraft
The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched its Euclid mission that will explore the mysteries of the dark universe. The space telescope is on its way to map out a large-scale structure of the Universe across space and time by observing billions of galaxies located as far away as 10 billion light-years.

Scientists and astronomers have long been enamored and puzzled with two of the Universe's most compelling questions: What is dark matter and dark energy? The ESA Euclid mission, which launched recently, aims to help answer questions about dark matter and dark energy, and thus hopefully answering the fundamental question: what is the Universe made of?

esa euclid lift off image

"Euclid has been made possible by ESA's leadership, the effort and expertise of hundreds of European industrial and scientific institutions, and through collaboration with international partners," remarked ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher. "The quest to answer fundamental questions about our cosmos is what makes us human. And, often, it is what drives the progress of science and the development of powerful, far-reaching, new technologies. ESA is committed to expanding Europe's ambitions and successes in space for future generations."

Giuseppe Racca, ESA's Euclid Project Manager, pointed out that there have been plenty of challenges along the way with Euclid, but with the help of the ESA's partners, also known as the Euclid Consortium, and NASA, the team has been able to overcome it all and successfully launch the mission.

The incredibly detailed map that Euclid is setting out to create will be using two highly advanced scientific instruments, both provided by NASA. The first is a visible wavelength camera (VIS) and the second is the Near-Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer.

Euclid's mission is to produce the largest and most accurate 3D map of the Universe ever made, with the third dimension representing time itself, according to ESA. "The detailed chart of the shape, position, and movement of galaxies will reveal how matter is distributed across immense distances and how the expansion of the Universe has evolved over cosmic history, enabling astronomers to infer the properties of dark energy and matter."

Carole Mundell, ESA's Director of Science, says in order to understand the Universe, the nature of dark matter and energy must be understood first. She adds that the wealth of data will help the scientific community to explore many other areas of astronomy for years to come.

Over the next four weeks, Euclid will be making its journey towards Sun-Earth Lagrange point 2. Once there, it will be maneuvered into orbit around this point and mission controllers back on Earth will begin to verify the activities and functions of the spacecraft. Once the spacecraft passes all of the tests, mission control will finally turn on the scientific instruments.

Following the activation of its scientific instruments, Euclid will then undergo another two months of testing and calibrating its instruments in preparation for routine observations. The spacecraft will begin its six-year survey of one-third of the sky with "unprecedented accuracy and sensitivity."