Looking into the dark : ahead with the Euclid mission
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), the University of Geneva, the University of Zurich and HET Brugg, supported by the Swiss Space Office of the State Secretariat for Education and Research and the Swiss National Science Foundation, are strongly involved in the design of the Euclid space mission that has just been formally adopted today by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Euclid consortium is now the largest collaboration of astronomers in the world. Euclid will study the ”Dark Universe” with great precision, tracing the distribution and evolution of the enigmatic dark matter and dark energy throughout the Universe. This is the final phase in the selection of Euclid as part of ESA’s “Cosmic Vision” programme, and sets in motion an army of astrophysicists and engineers to build and fly this new mission by the end of this decade.
“ESA and the Euclid Consortium have worked for over 5 years to get to this point,” says Yannick Mellier from the Institut d’astrophysique de Paris (IAP), and the lead of the Euclid Consortium (EC) adopted today. ESA also endorsed a Multilateral Agreement (MLA) between thirteen European Space Agencies, NASA, and the Euclid Consortium, for the construction of key elements of the Euclid satellite, specifically the onboard instruments, software for analysing the data and the satellites scientific leadership.
“With nearly 1000 scientists involved from across Europe and other parts of the world, the Euclid Consortium is the biggest astronomy collaboration ever created and is already bigger than those existing for any other ESA mission,” says Georges Meylan, director of the Laboratory of Astrophysics of EPFL and Swiss representative on the Euclid Consortium Board.
The Euclid Consortium will provide two instruments to ESA, a visible imaging wide field camera and a near infrared imaging and spectrograph instrument. These will create unprecedented images of 1.5 billion galaxies over 3/4 of the extragalactic sky, offering a fantastic tool to study the universe as a whole.
Euclid is now an official ESA mission and solidifies the Euclid Consortium at forefront of worldwide research into the “Dark Universe”.
Several Swiss partners are contributing to Euclid: the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL), the University of Geneva (UNIGE), the University of Zurich (UniZH) and the HET Brugg, supported by the Swiss Space Office (PRODEX) of the State Secretariat for Education and Research (Bern) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (Bern).