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£2bn Gaia space probe successfully launches


Posted on Friday, 20 December, 2013 | Comment icon 7 comments

Gaia will be investigating the stars of our own Milky Way galaxy. Image Credit: NASA / A. Fujii
The European probe has embarked on an ambitious 5-year mission to map our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
Gaia was launched from the space port in Kourou, French Guiana aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket yesterday morning. It is currently heading to a special orbital position one million from the Earth where it will get the best views while also being shielded from the sun.

Brimming with sophisticated imaging equipment, Gaia is designed to produce the most accurate map ever recorded of our galaxy. While it is doing this astronomers hope that it will discover numerous new stars, asteroids and extrasolar planets.

"The results from Gaia will revolutionise our understanding of the cosmos as never before," said Professor Gerry Gilmore. "Our understanding of what's out there has been driven by looking at what we can see. We've never had a genuine opportunity to look at everything, to know what's there, and to know where they are in relation to each other."

Source: Independent | Comments (7)

Tags: Gaia, Milky Way

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 December, 2013, 10:27
Next stop… the stars! Arianespace successfully lofts Gaia on Soyuz December 19, 2013 – Soyuz Flight VS06 Arianespace marked another mission accomplished for science as its medium-lift Soyuz successfully launched the European Space Agency’s Gaia billion-star surveyor today from the Spaceport in French Guiana.Gaia – named for the Greek mythological Mother Goddess – is now beginning an ambitious mission to chart the largest, most precise three-dimensional map of the Milky Way galaxy. Read more...
Comment icon #2 Posted by seeder on 19 December, 2013, 10:47
Good stuff, now we get highly accurate maps and distances. I wonder if Google will buy them..and make a real Hitch-hikers guide to the Galaxy!!
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 December, 2013, 11:16
Liftoff for ESA’s billion-star surveyor 19 December 2013 ESA PR 44-2013: ESA’s Gaia mission blasted off this morning on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on its exciting mission to study a billion suns.Gaia is destined to create the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way. By making accurate measurements of the positions and motions of 1% of the total population of roughly 100 billion stars, it will answer questions about the origin and evolution of our home Galaxy. Read more...
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 December, 2013, 11:18
Gaia launch - Lift-offWatch a replay of ESA's billion-star surveyor Gaia launching into space at 09:12UT/10:12CET on 19 DecemberCredit: ESA / CNES / ArianespaceSource: ESA - Space in Videos
Comment icon #5 Posted by Xynoplas on 19 December, 2013, 19:19
Gaia will probably discover some new planets; it certainly has the gear on board.
Comment icon #6 Posted by shaddow134 on 20 December, 2013, 16:06
Can't wait,hopefully there will be some new discoveries along the way.
Comment icon #7 Posted by LimeGelatin on 20 December, 2013, 17:01
I hope they find "Earth 2.0" and that we are able to send PPL there within the years that I am still amongst the living here on this planet... -I want one of my children to be part of the group of settlers that helps to colonize "The Real New World" so that my soul may, potentially, be reborn on a completely different planet...


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