The European Space Agency launched on Thursday the Gaia space probe into the darkness to discover worlds still unknown. Its mission is to discover, record, detail movement and determine the potential substance of a billion stars in the Milky Way (1). Over the next five years it is believed that the probe will create a census of our solar system in a way no other ship has yet been able to complete.
The Gaia is also equipped with a digital camera. This is not a normal camera you may find on your Android Phone. It is a billion pixel camera that can scan great distances to take pictures with significant clarity (2). This will help researchers determine what they are seeing in space and where planets are located.
The amount of data processing is huge. Gaia will find a place out in space where gravitational pulls will allow it to sit still and take pictures of the galaxy around it. At a cost of a billion dollars it will be able to beat out the abilities of the Kepler system by cataloging many large worlds (3). The program will run for five years.
It is appears that the sequence of recent flights that the space race has heated up again. From China’s soft landing on the moon to the potential colony on mars the technology has rounded a corner. Google’s purchasing of robotic companies and other innovative developments have created more opportunities in mutual technological advancement.