The European Space Agency (ESA)’s Euclid spacecraft was launched from the U.S. state of Florida on Saturday, starting its mission to study dark matter and dark energy of the universe.
The Euclid spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 11:12 a.m. Eastern Time (1512 GMT) on Saturday.
Following the launch, the ESA confirmed the acquisition of signal from Euclid via the New Norcia ground station in Australia.
The successful launch marks the beginning of an ambitious mission to uncover the nature of two mysterious components of the universe: dark matter and dark energy. This will help answer the fundamental question of what the universe is made of, according to the ESA.
Euclid will observe billions of galaxies out to 10 billion light-years to create the largest and most accurate 3D map of the universe, with the third dimension representing time itself.
This detailed chart of the shape, position and movement of galaxies will reveal how matter is distributed across immense distances and how the expansion of the universe has evolved over cosmic history, enabling astronomers to infer the properties of dark energy and dark matter, according to the ESA.
“By studying the ‘dark side’ of our universe, Euclid is not only paving the way for NASA’s Roman Space Telescope. It is igniting a new golden age of survey astronomy that will help us understand our universe’s history and structure in ways that were not possible before,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.