Gaia, a £2 billion European probe, has successfully launched, and will map more than a billion stars in 3D. The satellite’s five-year mission is one of the most ambitious in space history and will create precise maps – including thousands of previously unknown objects, including exploding stars, planets orbiting other suns, and nearby asteroids – of millions of stars with unparalleled precision. Continue reading for two videos and more information.

According to Dr Floor van Leeuwen, manager of Gaia data processing in the UK: “The sensors on board the spacecraft will be able to detect objects so faint the human eye would have to be nearly 4,000 times more powerful to see them. This accuracy is equivalent to measuring a shirt button on the moon as seen from the Earth. It means we have to have the highest-capability computers to analyze the data.”


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