Think your 18 megapixel camera is awesome? Well the European Space Station has a 576 megapixel camera, and it’s going in to space on a mission to study the universe’s dark side.*
Affixed on a 3.9-foot telescope aboard the 4,760-pound spacecraft Euclid, named after the ancient Greek mathematician, the camera will be studying 70 million galaxies to understand how dark matter and dark energy impact them.
Dark energy, the expanding force of the universe, and dark matter, the invisible matter that makes up most of it, can’t be measured directly. But through near-infrared photos, scientists hope to see these forces’ gravitational influence on stars and galaxies.
Euclid is a $788-million project launching in 2019 and involving over 1,000 scientists across Europe. According to many on the project will revolutionize how we understand space and its more shadowy elements. May the force be with you, Euclid.
Correction July 12, 2012: This article originally stated the camera on the Euclid spacecraft was a 586-million megapixel camera. The camera is actually a 576 megapixel camera.