Gaia satellite to be launched at the end of the year

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The European Space Agency's star surveyor, Gaia will be launched into space at the end of this year.

Gaia will be launched from the European Spaceport in Kourour, French Guiana. From space, it will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times over a five-year-period, recording vital statistics such as brightness, color and temperature. Gaia is also expected to identify which stars are relics from smaller galaxies which were 'swallowed' by the Milky Way long ago. It is also expected to discover hundreds of thousands of new celestial objects, such as extra-solar planets and brown dwarfs, and observe hundreds of thousands of asteroids within our Solar System. Orbiting at the L2 Lagrangian point, Gaia will create a three-dimensional map of the galaxy and beyond, with precise locations of the stars as well as their velocities and luminosities.

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