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ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects


Discovering dark energy

Main Theme Dark energy
Mission Responsibility - ESA 
Launch Date 2017
End of Mission 2022
Current phase A


The Euclid mission is the result of the merging of two M-class mission concepts, SPACE (SPectroscopic All-sky Cosmic Explorer) and DUNE (Dark Universe Explorer), presented to the European scientific community in response to ESA's tender "Cosmic Vision 2015-2025" and both selected in October 2007 for the study phase. The objective of the two missions was similar, but the different observation technique and ESA conducted a preliminary study that in May 2008 established the feasibility of a single mission for the study of dark energy with two imaging channels (Euclid-VIS and Euclid-NIP, ex Dune) and a spectrometric one (Euclid-NIS, exSPACE). The assessment study is underway which at the end of 2009 will compete in the next selection phase of the Cosmic Vision programme.


Scientific Objectives
Euclid has as its objective the study of matter and dark energy, one of the themes of great interest in modern astrophysics. The imaging channel is intended to conduct the study through the observation of the "weak gravitational lensing" phenomenon and will therefore execute a complete survey of the sky in a visible band and in three bands of near infrared, which will also be of great importance in other sectors of astrophysics. The spectroscopic channel will instead build a three-dimensional map of the Universe and  its evolution in the last 10 billion years thus enabling the study of large-scale structures and the measuring  of the acoustic oscillations of barionic matter that are held to be one of the most accurate methods for understanding (porre vincoli) the state of dark energy and its possible cosmic evolution.  The instrument will use, for the first time in the context of astronomical space observations, the Digital Micromirrors Devices (DMD),

Italian Contribution
Italy is responsible for the entire spectroscopic channel, through the PI-ship of Andrea Cimatti of the Department of Astronomy of the Università di Bologna. For the imaging channel, Italian activities involve above all electronics, data management and their scientific use.


International Agreements
The Euclid mission falls under the framework of ESA's Scientific Programme to which Italy contributes about 13%.