Nasa delivers three detectors for ESA's Euclid spacecraft


Nasa has delivered three detector systems for European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid spacecraft, which is scheduled to be launched by 2020.

The detectors will be part of Euclid’s near-infrared spectrometer and photometer (NISP), which was procured by Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Manufactured by Teledyne Imaging Sensors, the systems were tested at JPL and Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, US.

Each system is equipped with a detector, a cable and a ‘readout electronics chip’ that converts infrared light to data signals that are read by an onboard computer and transmitted to Earth for analysis.

"Once launched, Euclid will observe billions of faint galaxies and investigate why the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace."

Euclid will carry 16 detectors, which are composed of 2,040px x 2,040px.

The detectors will cover a field of view that is a little larger than twice the area covered by a full moon.

Made of a mercury-cadmium-telluride mixture, the detectors are designed to operate at extremely cold temperatures and will study various phenomena of the universe, including those related to the properties and effects of dark matter and dark energy.

Once launched, Euclid will observe billions of faint galaxies and investigate why the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace.

Apart from the NISP, the mission will also carry a visible-light imager (VIS).

Euclid project scientist Michael Seiffert said: “The delivery of these detector systems is a milestone for what we hope will be an extremely exciting mission, the first space mission dedicated to going after the mysterious dark energy.”

The agency is planning to deliver the next set of detectors for NISP by early next month.


Image: Artist's concept shows ESA's Euclid spacecraft. Photo: courtesy of ESA/C Carreau.