A lot will be riding on the European Space Agency’s (ESA’S) Euclid spacecraft when it blasts off in a rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, in September 2022—far more than its 1.2-meter telescope and two sophisticated wide-field-imaging instruments.

Paired with complementary measurements from two other next-generation facilities—the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope—the data Euclid gathers during its six-year mission in a heliocentric orbit some 1.5 million kilometers from Earth will help cosmologists learn fundamental truths about the universe. Namely, the spacecraft will seek to reveal the nature of dark energy—the mysterious force powering an acceleration in the universe’s expansion—as well as of dark matter—the invisible stuff that acts as gravitational glue for galaxies and other cosmic structures. Euclid’s studies will also constitute yet another stringent test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity at vast, intergalactic scales. The discovery of breakthrough new physics—potentially even of the fate of the universe itself—could lie in store.

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