Gaia spacecraft launches to map Milky Way
By Ashley Yeager, 10:11 AM December 19, 2013
Gaia is on its way to map the Milky Way.
The ESA spacecraft blasted off at 4:12 a.m. EST on December 19 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. It will travel about 1.5 million kilometers beyond Earth before settling into a stable orbit around the sun.
Once there, the spacecraft will spend five years recording the location, brightness and motion of 1 billion stars in the galaxy. Astronomers will use the data to make the most precise, three-dimensional map of the Milky Way to date.
Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/gaia-spacecraft-launches-map-milky-way?mode=blog&context=108