Euclid Resolves Navigation Issues, Updating Software for a Successful Mission
The European Space Agency’s Euclid mission has overcome a major hurdle in its quest to explore the mysteries of the universe. After encountering some navigation issues caused by cosmic rays, the spacecraft has successfully resolved the problem by finding its “lost” guide stars through a software patch.
Euclid recently completed the commissioning phase of its mission, which involved addressing unexpected challenges that arise when a spacecraft meets the reality of space. One significant issue that needed to be resolved was the interference caused by cosmic rays, which resulted in false signals during Euclid’s observations, making it difficult for the spacecraft to navigate accurately.
The Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), responsible for precise pointing and rotations during the mission, was found to be affected by cosmic rays. To overcome this, the FGS was updated and tested in orbit. The successful identification of more stars after the update confirmed that the navigation issue had been resolved.
With the navigation problem solved, Euclid has now moved on to the Performance Verification phase. During this phase, the spacecraft will carry out observations correctly and gather crucial data that will help scientists better understand the nature of dark matter and dark energy.
Euclid’s primary mission is to observe one-third of the sky, going back 10 billion years, to study the physics of the early Universe. By measuring billions of galaxies, Euclid will provide a groundbreaking 3D view of the distribution of dark matter – the mysterious substance that makes up a significant portion of the universe – and its role in shaping the cosmos. Additionally, Euclid aims to shed light on the validity of general relativity on cosmic scales.
One of Euclid’s standout features is its highly precise and stable telescope, which is among the most advanced ever launched into space. This instrument will contribute to the accuracy of Euclid’s observations, helping to uncover new insights into the nature of the universe.
As Euclid embarks on its mission, scientists are hopeful that the spacecraft’s groundbreaking research will revolutionize our understanding of dark matter, dark energy, and the fundamental laws that govern the cosmos.
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