EUCLID is an ESA mission designed to understand the origin of the accelerated expansion of the Universe, better known by physicists and astronomers as “dark energy”, which constitutes over 70% of the matter-energy in our universe today.
EUCLID will observe hundreds of millions of galaxies over a large region of the sky and monitor observational marks left by the dark matter, dark energy and gravity on the geometry of the universe and the cosmic history of structure formation. It will obtain high-resolution deep images and spectra of this large region, seeking to characterize in detail this dark matter and dark energy using research techniques such as weak gravitational lenses and the clustering of galaxies.
The satellite, 4.5m long x 3.1m in diameter and 2100 kg of mass, consists of a 1.2m diameter telescope that will observe the universe with two instruments: a near-infrared spectrophotometer and a camera in the optical.
The EUCLID mission has been the result of the merger of two previous space mission concepts: DUNE and SPACE. Both missions were designed to study dark matter and dark energy using different cosmological probes. EUCLID integrates both concepts studying the universe through the phenomenon of gravitational lensing and also through the study of galaxy clustering, analysing their spectra and determining their distances.
EUCLID is expected to be launched in 2019, with a lifetime of 6 years.
The spacecraft will be launched to an orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point (L2), at 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, in opposite direction to the Sun.
This orbit offers optimum operating conditions for Euclid: a benign radiation environment, which is necessary for the spacecraft’s sensitive detectors and very stable observing conditions, which are sufficiently far away from the disturbing Earth-Moon system.
EUCLID will share a spot in this region with other emblematic missions such as Herschel, Planck, Gaia, the James Webb Space Telescope and Darwin.
The IEEC-CSIC, IFAE, and CIEMAT will collaborate in the project providing the filter wheel for the telescope and, possibly, working in the characterization of infrared detectors.
The IEEC-CSIC, along with the Port d’Informació Científica (PIC) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), will perform high-resolution simulations of the structure of the universe for later comparison with the observations and data to be obtained with the satellite. The PIC will house one of the Science Data Centers for EUCLID.