July 4, 2013

CNES Board of Directors gives go-ahead for French participation in Euclid

Meeting on Thursday 4 July, CNES’s Board of Directors approved France’s funding contribution to the Euclid science mission led by the European Space Agency (ESA), scheduled for launch in 2020 and eagerly awaited by the French scientific community. Euclid’s objective is to determine why the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate and to probe the mysterious nature of dark energy.

Using its visual imager (VIS) and near-infrared spectrometer and photometer (NISP), Euclid will perform a deep survey of the extragalactic sky for 6 years to trace the history of the formation and expansion of the cosmic structures of the Universe. Data gathered from analysis of the shape of 1.5 billion galaxies and of the precise distances of 50 million of them will enable scientists to deduce the exact nature of dark energy and determine how the Universe is expanding in order to predict its fate.

Euclid is part of ESA’s Cosmic-Vision programme for 2015-2025, which covers long-term missions dedicated to Universe sciences. France is playing a key role in the project—supported by CNES, the national scientific research centre CNRS (via its INSU and IN2P3 laboratories) and the atomic energy agency CEA (via its IRFU laboratory)—since it is science lead for the Euclid consortium, is supplying the NISP instrument, part of the VIS instrument VIS and is responsible for systems engineering, the science ground segment, a high-power data centre and several scientific software applications.

Fabienne Casoli, Head of CNES’s Universe Sciences, Microgravity and Exploration programme, is delighted with this decision “that confirms France and CNES’s commitment to this mission under ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme. Euclid is expected to resolve crucial scientific questions. French scientists are playing a leading role in this project and CNES is providing its support and expertise to build ambitious and innovative instruments, and to get ready for the data analysis phase.”

French research laboratories working on Euclid:
AIM: Astrophysique Instrumentation et Modélisation (Université Paris Diderot /CEA-IRFU/CNRS)
APC: AstroParticules et Cosmologie (Université Paris Diderot / CNRS/CEA / Observatoire de Paris)
CC-IN2P3: Centre de Calcul de l’Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (CNRS)
CPPM: Centre de Physique des Particules de Marseille (Aix-Marseille Université/CNRS)
GEPI: Laboratoire Galaxies, Etoiles, Physique et Instrumentation (Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/Université Paris Diderot)
IAP: Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris (Université Pierre et Marie Curie/CNRS)
IAS: Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (Université Paris-Sud/CNRS)
IPNL: Institut de Physique Nucléaire de Lyon (Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1/CNRS)
IPhT: Institut de Physique Théorique (CEA/Saclay)
IRAP: Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (Université Toulouse 3 - Paul Sabatier/CNRS)
IRFU: Institut de Recherche sur les lois Fondamentales de l’Univers (CEA/Saclay)
LAL: Laboratoire de l’Accélérateur Linéaire (Université Paris Sud/CNRS)
LAM: Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (Aix-Marseille Université/CNRS)
LERMA: Laboratoire d’Etude du Rayonnement et de la Matière en Astrophysique (Observatoire de Paris/Université Pierre et Marie Curie/CNRS)
Laboratoire Lagrange (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur/CNRS/Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis)
LPNHE: Laboratoire de Physique Nucléaire et de Hautes Energies (UPMC/Université Paris Diderot/CNRS)
LUTH: Laboratoire Univers et THéorie (Observatoire de Paris/Université Paris Diderot/CNRS)

More information at:

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Pascale Bresson – Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39 pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Julien Watelet – Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 37 julien.watelet@cnes.fr
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