The European Space Agency (ESA) is getting ready to kick off one of its biggest hunts for evidence of dark matter at the start of July. It will launch its Euclid Spacecraft which will be a space telescope for dark matter hunting. This will look deep into the universe to see if there are any clues.
Both Dark Matter and Dark Energy are thought to be fundamental to the state of our Universe and to our understanding. However, finding evidence of either has been difficult. While scientists believe they may have found evidence of dark energy, they haven’t quite cracked the dark matter mystery completely.
With the Euclid, though, the ESA plans to explore the composition and evolution of the dark Universe and create a “great map of the large-sclae structure of the Universe across space and time,” the ESA explains in an older post on the space telescope. Euclid had been originally scheduled to launch on a Russian Soyuz last year. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine put a lot of strain on the mission, and the ESA has now partnered with SpaceX to launch Euclid.
Euclid is set to lift off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on July 1. After launch, Euclid will first need to complete a journey to L2, the second Lagrange point, which is located roughly 1. 5 million kilometers from Earth. It’s also in the opposite direction of the Sun. L2, like the other Lagrange points, is what we call an equilibrium point, where the Sun and Earth’s gravitational pull essentially cancel each other out.
Once the space telescope reaches its destination at L2, it’ll spend a few weeks cooling off before the hunt for evidence of dark matter in our universe properly begins. There are five main mysteries that the ESA hopes to solve using Euclid.
First, it hopes to determine the structure and history of the cosmic web. It also hopes to determine the nature of dark matter as a whole as well as how the expansion of the universe has changed and developed over time. Additionally, the ESA hopes that Euclid will also help determine the nature of dark energy and whether or not our current understanding of gravity is complete.
It’s not clear if Euclid can achieve all five of its goals. However, when talking about a $850million spacecraft it is good to set lofty targets. You can check out the Euclid’s full mission launch plan in an interactive kit the ESA released.
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