April 23, 2024

Sight is deteriorating: the Euclid Space Telescope must be defrosted Sciences

The European Euclid probe to search for dark matter and dark energy in space is facing vision problems: extremely thin layers of water ice on the mirrors of the space telescope have begun to impair its vision, the European Space Agency ESA announced.

After months of research, Euclid teams in Europe are now testing a newly developed process for removing ice from optics. Individual parts of the spacecraft will be heated using onboard heaters. Although it would be easier to heat the entire probe to free it from the freezing water. However, this runs the risk of important components expanding and not completely returning to their original shape – and this may change Euclid's direction slightly. In order to achieve the scientific objectives of the mission, extreme precision is needed.

The European Space Agency wants to collect data on billions of galaxies

According to the announcement, scientists noticed that the telescope's visibility deteriorated because the incoming starlight became weaker compared to previous measurements. It is known that water taken from the air when a spacecraft is assembled on Earth is gradually released into space.

The Euclid probe was launched into space in July 2023. The centerpiece is a high-resolution telescope equipped with two cameras – one for the visible wavelength range and the other for the near-infrared range. They aim to photograph the movements and shapes of galaxies or to help determine the distance between galaxies.

The European Space Agency wants to look into the past of the universe and investigate its evolution over the past 10 billion years. In total, data will be collected on billions of galaxies and a 3D map of space will be created with time as an element.

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Dark matter and dark energy together make up a very large portion of the universe. All other known components such as galaxies make up only about five percent. So far, researchers know little about the two variants. According to the European Space Agency, Euclid will record the shape, position and movement of galaxies in detail.

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