So, you are pretty happy with your high end smartphone that captures some pretty interesting photos with clarity on the move, or you are a professional photographer who cannot get enough of your Canon 5D Mark III, but neither one of them are able to hold a candle to the European Space Agency’s recently launched Gaia satellite. The Gaia satellite is on a mission to map the galaxy while capturing beautiful photographs of it, and will do so with an unprecedented level of detail and accuracy. We are talking about a billion pixel camera here, allowing its lens to be able to “see” a star that is far flung away, offering an error margin of seven micro-arcseconds – which is the equivalent to measuring a person’s thumbnail on the moon all the way from terra firma.
First of all, the Gaia satellite will need to complete the gruelling 1.5 million kilometer journey away from earth before it will kick off is 5 year long mission to capture far away galaxies in its splendor and beauty. It is capable of making accurate measurements of the positions and motions of 1% of the total population of roughly 100 billion stars, and will hope to offer answers to all time favorite questions concerning the beginning as well as evolution of the galaxy. Good luck, Gaia! [Press Release]