Euclid. Credit: ESA

( —The module carrying the telescope and scientific instruments of ESA's Euclid 'dark Universe' mission is now being developed by Astrium in Toulouse, France.

Euclid will be launched in 2020 to explore  and dark matter in order to understand the evolution of the  since the Big Bang and, in particular, its present accelerating expansion.

Dark matter is invisible to our normal telescopes but acts through gravity to play a vital role in forming galaxies and slowing the .

Dark energy, however, causes a force that is overcoming gravity and accelerating the expansion seen around us today.

Together, these two components are thought to comprise 95% of the mass and energy of the Universe, with 'normal' matter, from which stars, planets and we humans are made, making up the remaining small fraction. Their nature remains a profound mystery.

"Euclid will address the cosmology-themed questions of ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015–25 programme with advanced payload technologies, enabling Europe to become a world leader in this field of research," says Thomas Passvogel, Head of the Project Department in ESA's Directorate of Science and .

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