Europe’s space mission to uncover the secrets of the “dark Universe” has reached a key milestone.
The test model of the Euclid telescope has just emerged from a chamber where it was subjected to the kind of conditions experienced in orbit.
It was a critical moment for engineers because the successful trial confirms the observatory’s design is on track.
Euclid, due for launch in 2022, will map the cosmos for clues to the nature of dark matter and dark energy.
These phenomena appear to control the shape and expansion of the Universe but virtually nothing is known about them.
The €800m venture, led by the European Space Agency (Esa), will be one of a group of new experiments to come online in the next few years.
Scientists are hopeful these next-generation technologies will provide the insights that have so far eluded them.