NASA has announced that it has teamed up with the ESA on the ESA's Euclid mission. The mission involves the creation of a new space telescope designed to investigate the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy within the universe. The Euclid spacecraft is expected to launch in 2020 and its mission will span six years.
During the mission, the space telescope will map the locations and measure the shapes of as many as 2 billion galaxies that are spread over roughly 1/3 of the viewable sky. NASA and the ESA plan the study the universe along with dark matter and dark energy and their effect on the evolution of the universe.
The space telescope will be launched to an orbit around the sun-Earth Lagrange point L2. This Lagrange point is a location where the gravitational pull of the Sun and the Earth precisely equals the required force to keep the spacecraft in a relatively stationary position. The space telescope will be positioned behind the Earth as it is seen from the sun.
NASA's participation will see the space agency contributing 16 state-of-the-art infrared detectors and four spare detectors for one of two science instruments that are planned to be installed on the Euclid space telescope. NASA has also nominated three science teams from the US with a total of 40 members for the Euclid Consortium. That Consortium will have an international body of 1000 members that will oversee the development of the spacecraft instruments, and manage the science operations for the project as well as analyze data returned.