Major new space mission aims to understand why the expansion of the Universe is accelerating
Cosmologists from the University of Portsmouth have been recognised for their crucial contribution to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid satellite mission.
Euclid, which is due for launch in 2022, aims to understand why the expansion of the Universe is accelerating and what is the mysterious and unknown ‘dark energy’, the source responsible for this acceleration that represents around 75 per cent of the Universe.
Professor Bob Nichol, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Professor Adam Amara, Royal Society Wolfson Fellow in the University’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG), are named as ‘Founders’ for their substantial contributions to the “Euclid Consortium” - the single team that has the scientific responsibility of the mission, the data production and of the scientific instruments.
Professor Nichol said: “I am extremely proud of our joint work with colleagues across Europe on this great scientific mission. While it’s nice to receive this personal recognition, it does reflect the long-term commitment of many in Portsmouth and across the UK to work with colleagues on major international science projects like the Euclid mission. What gives me most pleasure is the prominence of the ICG in this amazing space project alongside more traditional universities.
I am extremely proud of our joint work with colleagues across Europe on this great scientific mission.
Professor Adam Amara said: “This critical mission will help us to answer questions related to fundamental physics and cosmology on the nature and properties of dark energy, dark matter and gravity. By exploring how the Universe evolved over the past 10 billion years, Euclid will also provide insightful information on the physics of the early universe and on the initial conditions at the formation of cosmic structure.”
The imprints of dark energy and gravity will be tracked by using two complementary cosmological probes to capture signatures of the expansion rate of the Universe and the growth of cosmic structures: Weak gravitational Lensing and Galaxy Clustering (Baryonic Acoustic Oscillations and Redshift Space Distortion).
The complete survey represents hundreds of thousands images and several tens of Petabytes of data. About 10 billion sources will be observed by Euclid out of which more than one billion will be used for weak lensing and several tens of million galaxy redshifts will be also measured and used for galaxy clustering. The scientific analysis and interpretation of these data is led by the scientists of the Euclid Consortium.