Euclid Receives Big Money Bump By U.K. Space Agency
June 21, 2012

Euclid Receives Big Money Bump By U.K. Space Agency

Lee Rannals for

United Kingdom scientists have been given a $13 million grant by the U.K. Space Agency to build the Euclid satellite to study the "dark Universe."

Physicists and engineers have been working on getting the Euclid mission up into space by the end of this decade to study the enigmatic dark matter and dark energy.

The additional investment by the U.K. Space Agency will help get the Euclid project to its end goal.

The Euclid Consortium is made up of nearly a thousand international scientists, and is the biggest astronomy collaboration ever created.

The $13 million grant will support the U.K. teams in their roles in developing the instruments over the next five years.

The money will be divided up between a couple of universities, including UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory and the Open University. The Mullard Space Science Laboratory is receiving more than $7.5 million to develop the visible imaging instrument (VIS), while Open University will be receiving a grant for its development attributes to the near infrared imaging and spectrograph instrument (NISP).

"This is a huge mission — from the importance of the data Euclid will collect to the size of the team involved in putting it into space," David Parker, Director of Technology, Science and Exploration at the UK Space Agency said, said in a statement. "The UK is playing a considerable part in both of the instruments and the Science Ground Segment. It is a fantastic example of the leadership of our scientists and facilities."

The Euclid science instruments will create a large amount of data over a huge portion of the sky, looking for the signature of dark energy.

Dark energy has been hard for scientists to spot, despite it widely being believed that it makes up 75 percent of the energy density in the Universe.

The U.K. Space Agency is also funding the U.K.'s contribution to the program's Science Ground Segment (SGS), which is being developed through Edinburgh, UCL, MSSL, Portsmouth, Oxford, Durham, Hertfordshire and Cambridge.

This instrument will coordinate with all Euclid data, and include hundreds of scientists at institutions throughout Europe.

"This is great for UK astrophysics, really puts us at the forefront of this fundamental science alongside our European colleagues," Bob Nichol, Euclid Consortium Communications Lead at the University of Portsmouth, said in a press release. "We have key roles in building the eyes of Euclid and analyzing its data to see the signatures of the dark energy and dark matter. We've all worked so hard for this day!"