Russia has efficiently launched a new telescope into space, marking a significant milestone for the nation’s space science program — and potentially paving the way for the mapping of the cosmos at a stage of detail never before achieved.
The Spektr-RG telescope, a Russian-German joint venture, was efficiently delivered into orbit by a Russian Proton-M rocket, The Associated Press reported. The rocket was launched, following repeated delays, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Saturday evening, local time.
The telescope is en route to its last destination, the L2 Lagrange point, which the craft is predicted to reach in about three months.
“Lagrange factors are unique positions within the solar system where objects can maintain their place relative to the sun and the planets that orbit it,” AP defined.
L2, situated about a million miles from Earth, is a popular “parking place” for observatories because it provides a clear view of deep space. As soon as there, the telescope’s goal will likely be to conduct a complete X-ray survey of the sky ― one carried out “with outstanding sensitivity,” in keeping with Roscosmos, Russia’s space company.
It could be the first-ever map of the Universe in high-energy X-rays, Nature magazine noted.
Such a map “will be essential to unravel the core questions of modern cosmology,” Roscosmos stated in a press launch. “How do dark energy and dark matter affect the formation of the large-scale structure of the Universe? What’s the cosmological evolution of supermassive black holes?”
The company added that the telescope, which has reportedly taken many years to develop, is anticipated to search out about “100,000 massive clusters of galaxies” and millions of supermassive black holes ― a lot of them new to science ― over a four-year survey period.