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Norwegian technology contributes to solving the mystery of dark energy and matter in space

Bergen, Norway - 23 June - 2023 - Clara Venture Labs in partnership with the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Space Centre, have contributed to the design and construction of telescope instruments on board the ESA satellite Euclid. The advanced telescope, set for launch in early July via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, will map the enigmatic dark energy and matter in space. Over the course of the next six years, billions of galaxies will be observed from its orbit 1.5 million kilometres away from Earth.

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By Annette Frotjold Published

Dark matter and dark energy make up about 96 percent of the content of the universe. The so-called ordinary matter, which consists of protons, electrons, neutrons, and atoms, accounts for only four percent of everything that exists.

The Euclid space telescope is one of the largest scientific projects of the European Space Agency (ESA), and it has been in planning and construction for ten years. The data collected from the Euclid telescope will contribute to research on how dark matter and dark energy affect the gravity and expansion of the universe, as well as the formation of galaxies.

Clara Venture Labs in Bergen has designed and built parts for the telescope instrument known as the "Near-Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP)"

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High precision for an extreme environment

«These types of projects are both exciting and challenging because the designed and manufactured parts need to function in an extreme environment while maintaining exceptionally high precision and reliability. Such a project challenges our engineers and machine operators, providing us with unique expertise. This experience also benefits Clara Venture Labs in our technology development and projects targeting the net zero challenge", says Bjarte G. B. Solheim, project manager for Euclid and program leader for Spacetech at Clara Venture Labs.

The Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics (ITA) at the University of Oslo led the Norwegian contributions to the Euclid telescope and also contributes with quality control software for the Euclid data analysis centers. The Norwegian Space Centre has funded the instrument parts and software with approximately 40 million Norwegian kroner through ESA's PRODEX program.

Dark energy is not only the biggest mystery in astrophysics but also in all of physics. With Euclid, we hope to understand more about what dark energy truly is.

«The properties of the dark side of the universe are one of the deepest and most fundamental questions in cosmology and astrophysics, and our researchers will analyze the data from Euclid to understand whether what we call dark energy is actually a flaw in Einstein's general theory of relativity and whether there are signs of an asymmetry in the entire universe," says Per Barth Lilje, director of the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics (ITA) at the University of Oslo and Norwegian representative on the international Euclid consortium.

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Leading in space tech

“Through dedicated work within space for decades, we have built up solid expertise and recognition in the international space research community. I’m immensely proud of our exceptional team of researchers and engineers and of the fact that equipment from Clara Venture Labs is onboard a satellite that’s on a mission to reveal the fundamental physical laws of the universe”, says Michelle Williams, CEO in Clara Venture Labs.
  • Bipod føttene til NISP instrumentet detalj Clara Venture Labs
  • NISP instrument image credit LAM Laboratoire d Astrophysique de Marseille
  • NI SSS under temperatur sjokkbehandling i flytende nitrogen Clara Venture Labs
  • Monopod føttene til NISP instrumentet Clara Venture Labs
  • NI SSS under temperatur sjokkbehandling fv Robert Schistad Bjarte G B Solheim Clara Venture Labs