ESA's 'Discovery Machine' Gets Ready for Science: Gaia Concludes Commissioning Phase, Begins Primary Five-Year Mission

Artist’s concept of the Gaia. Having recently completed a rigorous test and commissioning phase, the space observatory began its five-year primary science mission of mapping and cataloguing approximately 1 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Image Credit: ESA–D. Ducros, 2013

Following the successful conclusion of a very demanding and extensive six-month commissioning […]

ESA's 'Mission: Impossible' Sees First Light: Gaia Opens Her Eyes to the Galaxy

One of the first images taken by the Gaia space telescope during the commissioning phase of its mission, showing the star α Aquarii, also known as Sadalmelik, in the constellation of Aquarius. Image Credit: ESA/Airbus DS

Originally perceived by astronomers as a space mission that was unlikely to ever happen, the European Space […]

Ambitious Gaia Billion-Object Astronomy Mission Delayed Until NET Mid-December

 

Artist’s concept of Gaia and the deep-space survey work it will conduct during its 5 years of baseline operations. Image Credit: ESA

Last week, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that it will delay the launch of its ambitious Gaia mission to observe and catalog around 1 billion astronomical objects—or approximately 1 […]