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Euclid Mission UPSC NOTE


Euclid Mission

  • European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid mission is designed to explore the composition and evolution of the dark Universe. 

  • The space telescope will create a great map of the large-scale structure of the Universe across space and time by observing billions of galaxies out to 10 billion light-years, across more than a third of the sky. 

  • Euclid will explore how the Universe has expanded and how structure has formed over cosmic history, revealing more about the role of gravity and the nature of dark energy and dark matter.


Euclid Mission


  • Launch period: July 2023

  • Launch location: Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA

  • Launch vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9

  • Destination: Sun-Earth Lagrange point 2, 1.5 million km from Earth

  • The Euclid mission hopes to understand the evolution of the Universe by looking at the light emitted from galaxies 10 billion years ago. 

  • The telescope will also focus on gleaning more information on dark energy and dark matter – parts of astrophysics still shrouded in near-complete mystery.

  • Once the telescope is operational, it will scan more than a third of the sky.

  • Named after the Greek mathematician Euclid of Alexandria.

  • The mission is part of ESA’s ‘Cosmic Vision’ programme, which plans to explore the origin and components of the Universe and the laws that govern it.

  • In 2007, the ESA received proposals for two missions to expand our understanding of dark energy and dark matter using different methods.

  • The agency decided to combine them, and in 2011, approved the resulting Euclid mission.

  • In 2012 the Euclid Consortium was formed to bring together physicists, astronomers, engineers, and managers for the mission.

  • The payload will have

    • 1.2 metre-wide telescope.

    • A visible-wavelength camera (VISible).

    • A near-infrared camera/spectrometer (NISP).

  • NISP will look at how quickly galaxies are moving away from each other, offering scientists insights into the effects of gravity. 

  • NISP’s detectors are courtesy NASA.

  • VISible will look for tiny distortions in the shapes of distant galaxies from different points in time to understand the tussle between the pull of gravity and the push of dark energy.

  • Stationed 1.5 million km away from the earth, the telescope is expected to deliver images at least four-times sharper than ground-based observatories.

What are 'dark matter' and 'dark energy'?

  • The content of the Universe is widely thought to consist of three types of substance: normal matter, dark matter and dark energy.

  • Normal matter consists of the atoms that make up stars, planets, human beings and every other visible object in the Universe. 

  • Normal matter almost certainly accounts for the smallest proportion of the Universe, somewhere between 1% and 10%.

  • Astronomers know precious little about both dark matter and dark energy. 

  • The more astronomers observed the Universe, the more matter they needed to find to explain it all. 

  • This matter could not be made of normal atoms, however, otherwise there would be more stars and galaxies to be seen. 

  • Instead, they coined the term ‘dark matter’ for this peculiar substance precisely because it escapes our detection.

  • Astronomers still believe that somewhere between 30% and 99% of the Universe may consist of dark matter.

  • Dark energy is the latest addition to the contents of the Universe. 

  • Originally, Albert Einstein introduced the idea of an all-pervading ‘cosmic energy’; before he knew that the Universe is expanding. The expanding Universe did not need a ‘cosmological constant’ as Einstein had called his energy.

  • However, in the 1990s observations of exploding stars in the distant Universe suggested that the Universe was not just expanding but accelerating as well. 

  • Scientists theorize the existence of dark energy that instead of slowing down due to gravity, a force that pulls matter inwards, the expansion of the Universe was speeding up.

  • The only way to explain this was to reintroduce Einstein’s cosmic energy in a slightly altered form, called ‘dark energy’. No one knows what the dark energy might be.

  • In the currently popular ‘concordance model’ of the Universe – 70% of the cosmos is thought to be dark energy, 25% dark matter and 5% normal matter.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Euclid Mission UPSC NOTE
Euclid Mission UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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