The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid telescope is set to launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral today, 1 July.

The telescope, named after the ancient Greek mathematician also known as the ‘father of geometry’, was placed inside the cargo bay of a Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket is scheduled for launch at 15:00 GMT from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The US$1.4 billion mission, projected to span at least six years, is anticipated to yield revelations that revolutionise astrophysics.

Following its launch, the Euclid mission will undergo a trajectory correction manoeuvre conducted by ESA mission control. This manoeuvre aims to guide Euclid on its journey towards ‘Lagrange point 2,’ which is among the five specific points in space where the gravitational forces between the Earth and the Sun reach a balance. These points create gravitational ‘plateaus,’ allowing objects to orbit them with stability and minimal effort to maintain their positions.

The goal of Euclid’s mission is to construct an extensive 3D map of the cosmos, aiming to gain a better understanding of the entities known as dark matter and dark energy. Combined, dark matter and dark energy seem to govern the structure and expansion of the entire observable universe.

Researchers admit that their knowledge of these entities is limited.

“Euclid’s findings are crucial for understanding our place in the Universe and how it has evolved,” Professor Isobel Hook from Lancaster University said.

The Euclid mission will shed light on dark matter’s role in shaping galaxies and support the existing theory that it constitutes approximately 25% of the universe’s energy, while dark energy accounts for around 70%, with visible material making up the remaining 5%.

Positioned about 1.5 million km from Earth, on the opposite side of the planet from the Sun, Euclid will offer an unparalleled vantage point to chart the cosmos. The mission will employ a primary visible camera (VIS) developed in the UK to produce expansive images, each requiring more than 300 high-definition TVs to display.

Dark matter, although undetectable directly, exerts its presence through gravitational effects on visible matter. Euclid will observe the way dark matter’s mass distorts light from distant galaxies, offering insights into its distribution.

The Hubble Space Telescope has previously performed similar observations on a smaller scale. Euclid will cover an expansive 15,000 square degrees of the sky, about one-third of the heavens, expanding our understanding of dark matter’s influence.

This effort could lead to breakthroughs in understanding dark energy’s role in accelerating universe expansion.

One hypothesis suggests that dark energy could manifest as a fifth force, acting solely on cosmic scales, without affecting life on Earth but influencing the universe’s fate, governing its expansion and possible eventual collapse.