Floating around the Milky Way galaxy is the most recent space observatory launched by the European Space Agency (ESA). Gaia will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times over a period of five years – all unmanned.
The mission aims to compile a 3D space catalog of approximately one billion astronomical objects (approximately 1% of the Milky Way population). Gaia will create a precise three-dimensional map of stars throughout the Milky Way Galaxy and map their motions, which encode the origin and subsequent evolution of the Milky Way.
This interesting news was everywhere, but the article, “Gaia spacecraft set for launch on mission to map a billion stars“, in The Guardian brought this to our attention. After years of preparation, this “star census worker” will spend five years preparing the digital map. “It’s going to be the most accurate and the most detailed 3D map of stars there has ever been,” said Dr. Ralph Cordey, head of science at Astrium UK, a company involved in the building of the spacecraft.
Melody K. Smith
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