European Space Agency’s Gaia Mission quite recently took off and do you know where it’s leading?
Well, Gaia started its far too exciting mission to study Milky Way, yes, a big step for humanity and another yes, it’s an enormous step in every fashion. Billion star surveyor Gaia is destined to draw the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way and by executing true measurements and motions of %1 of the total roughly 100 billion stars, it will try to find answers to some challenging and mysterious questions; The origin and the evolution of our Home Galaxy.
Gaia feeds itself through solar cells where a sunshield keeps the satellite at its working temperature and it will protect the mission from heat and light coming through different planets. This will definitely enable a stable environment for its sophisticated instruments to make an extraordinarily precise census of the Milky Way’s billion stars. Gaia is nowadays on its way towards an orbit called L2, some 1.5 million kilometres beyond Earth as seen from the Sun.
What else does Gaia do?
-Scans the sky, monitors each of the billion stars 70 times each over the five years; will measure the position and key physical properties of each star, including its brightness, temperature and chemical composition.
-Satellite will orbit the Sun during a year and will measure the stars’ distances and, by viewing them over the whole mission, their motions across the sky.
-Its huge census will allow scientist to create together a family tree for the Milky Way.
-Gaia finally took over the legacy of ESA’s first star-mapping mission, Hipparcos, launched in 1989, to reveal the history of the galaxy in which we live.