NASA Joins New Euclid Dark Energy Mission

By  //  May 23, 2013

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telescope designed to investigate dark matter

ABOVE VIDEO: Euclid is an ESA survey mission to investigate the nature of dark matter and dark energy. It was selected for implementation as a Medium-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme in October 2011 and formally adopted in June 2012. The mission will be launched in 2020. (slatester)

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – NASA has joined the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Euclid mission, a space telescope designed to investigate the cosmological mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

This artist’s concept shows the Euclid spacecraft. The telescope will launch to an orbit around the sun-Earth Lagrange point L2. (Image courtesy of ESA/C. Carreau)

Euclid will launch in 2020 and spend six years mapping the locations and measuring the shapes of as many as 2 billion galaxies spread over more than one-third of the sky.

It will study the evolution of our universe, and the dark matter and dark energy that influence its evolution in ways that still are poorly understood.

The telescope will launch to an orbit around the sun-Earth Lagrange point L2. The Lagrange point is a location where the gravitational pull of two large masses, the sun and Earth in this case, precisely equals the force required for a small object, such as the Euclid spacecraft, to maintain a relatively stationary position behind Earth as seen from the sun.

“NASA is very proud to contribute to ESA’s mission to understand one of the greatest science mysteries of our time,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington.

LONG HISTORY OF COOPERATION

NASA and ESA recently signed an agreement outlining NASA’s role in the project. NASA will contribute 16 state-of-the-art infrared detectors and four spare detectors for one of two science instruments planned for Euclid.

Alvaro Giménez

Alvaro Giménez

“ESA’s Euclid mission is designed to probe one of the most fundamental questions in modern cosmology, and we welcome NASA’s contribution to this important endeavor, the most recent in a long history of cooperation in space science between our two agencies,” said Alvaro Giménez, ESA’s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration.

In addition, NASA has nominated three U.S. science teams totaling 40 new members for the Euclid Consortium. This is in addition to 14 U.S. scientists already supporting the mission. The Euclid Consortium is an international body of 1,000 members who will oversee development of the instruments, manage science operations and analyze data.

The Euclid space telescope will conduct its surveys 1.5 million kilometers from Earth on its “night side” (Image courtesy of ESA/C.Carreau)

Euclid will map the dark matter in the universe. Matter as we know it — the atoms that make up the human body, for example — is a fraction of the total matter in the universe. The rest, about 85 percent, is dark matter consisting of particles of an unknown type. Dark matter first was postulated in 1932, but still has not been detected directly. It is called dark matter because it does not interact with light. Dark matter interacts with ordinary matter through gravity and binds galaxies together like an invisible glue.

While dark matter pulls matter together, dark energy pushes the universe apart at ever-increasing speeds. In terms of the total mass-energy content of the universe, dark energy dominates. Even less is known about dark energy than dark matter.

While dark matter pulls matter together, dark energy pushes the universe apart at ever-increasing speeds. In terms of the total mass-energy content of the universe, dark energy dominates. Even less is known about dark energy than dark matter.

CLUES ABOUT EVOLUTION AND FATE OF THE COSMOS

The Euclid spacecraft will use two techniques to study the dark universe, both involving precise measurements of galaxies billions of light-years away. The observations will yield the best measurements yet of how the acceleration of the universe has changed over time, providing new clues about the evolution and fate of the cosmos.

Euclid is an ESA mission with science instruments provided by a consortia of European institutes and with important participation from NASA.


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3 Comments on "NASA Joins New Euclid Dark Energy Mission"

  1. Akinto Olakanmi Felix April 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm · Reply

    I’m a 2012 graduate of physics from the Federal University of Technology Akure, ondo state, nigeria. I have special interest in astrophysics. To this end, I have published two papers in EJSR Vol. 93, issues 1 and 2 (“Determination of Photon Density of Black-body Radiation”, vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 109-112 & “Superfluid-de Sitter vacuum model of quantum cosmology”, vol. 93, no.2, pp. 163-182). My current research work has completely solved the misterious dark energy problem. I’m confident that this new proposal will be validated by ESA’S Euclid mission. Over and above this, I need scholarship to pursue my Master and Phd programs in astrophysics in the one of leading universities in the World and research grant to publish this new research work in APJ.

  2. d p June 4, 2013 at 8:32 am · Reply

    Look to the dark cool shadows of the trees where esle to seek the cooling and notice the shadows are e

  3. d p June 4, 2013 at 9:31 am · Reply

    A type of photo syn in trees that holds and hides the elusive dark e/m un found on this rock think plants need light why don’t they need the dark through down to the roots back n forth think about it

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