wiki:TBR/UserApp/Space/GAIA

Version 3 (modified by Mat, on Nov 29, 2012 at 2:28:28 AM) (diff)

GAIA

Imported from old wiki. Gaia (Global Astrometric Interferometer for Astrophysics) is an ambitious space mission organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) and involves conducting a census of approximately one billion stars in our Galaxy. Gaia will monitor each of its target stars for about 70 times over a five-year period. It is scheduled to launch on October of 2013, on a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from Sinnamary, part of Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Gaia is the successor to the Hipparcos mission and will rely on the proven principles from the Hipparcos mission. It is predicted that Gaia will discover hundreds of thousands of new celestial objects, such as extra-solar planets and brown dwarfs. The total cost of the mission is approximately 650 milllion euros which includes the manufacture, launch and ground operations. The mission will end 5 years after launch (2018). <br />

Gaia makes use of RTEMS on its SPARC architecture onboard computers.

Background

ESA's pervious Hipparcos mission exceeded all expectations, cataloguing more than 100 000 stars to high precision, and more than a million to lesser precision. Hipparcos was so sensitive that it could have measured the diameter of a human hair at a distance of 20 km. Now that technology has improved, it is time for another mission with similar cataloguing aims as Hipparcos but with a much more ambitious payback. The Gaia mission was proposed in October 1993 by Lennart Lindegren (Lund University, Sweden) and Michael Perryman (European Space Agency) in response to a call for proposals for ESA's Horizon Plus long-term scientific programme. Gaia was approved in 2000 as an ESA Cornerstone mission, and will be launched in 2013.The B2 phase of the project was authorized on 9 February 2006, with EADS Astrium taking responsibility for the hardware.

Features

Gaia is equipped with two optical telescopes that can precisely determine the location of stars and split their light into a spectrum for analysis. Gaia has a mass of 2030 kg and has a focal plane containing 106 CCD detectors. There are two sections to the spacecraft, the payload module and the service module. The payload consists of the telescopes and other instruments. The service module contains the propulsion system, the communications units and other essential components that allow the spacecraft to function and return data to Earth. Beneath the service module and the payload module is the sunshield and solar array assembly.

Imported from old wiki.

Objectives

-Precisely chart selected star positions, distances, movements, and changes in brightness.<br />

-Detect and characterize of tens of thousands of extra-solar planetary systems.<br />

-Perform a comprehensive survey of objects ranging from huge numbers of minor bodies in our Solar System.<br />

-Conduct more accurate tests of Albert Einstein’s general relativity theory.<br />

-Detect of up to 500,000 distant quasars.

References and external links

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