The evolution of our universe, starting from an homogeneous state after the Big Bang towards the formation of galaxies, galaxy clusters and super clusters is described within the standard framework of cosmology. However, this framework faces several untested paradigms, such as the underlying initial conditions, the nature of gravity, and the unknown origin of the two dominant components of the overall energy density filling the universe. The existence and properties of dark matter, which interacts only gravitationally (i.e. no light absorption or emission) can only inferred by it's influence on visible matter, radiation and the cosmic structure. It contributes 23% to the overall energy density, whereas 4% is due to visible baryonic matter, while the so-called dark energy amounts to 73% and causes the late time cosmic acceleration of the expansion. The nature of both components remains uncertain, which makes them one of most intriguing challenges of modern cosmology and physics.
The only possibility to unravel these mysteries is by testing our current theoretical models with high precision cosmological observations. In this context, Euclid is a space telescope proposed by ESA with the primary goal to analyze the distribution of dark matter and to study the properties of dark energy. It's concept is based on a 1.2 m Korsch telescope, a three mirror common opto-mechanical assembly and three scientific instruments dedicated to visible imaging (VIS), near infrared photometric imaging (NIP) and to near infrared spectroscopy (NIS). The development of the design on both infrared channels NIS and NIP (shortly NISP) are the main part of MPE's hardware involvement.
Euclid will be launched in 2020 using a Soyuz ST-2.1B-rocket. It will take ~30 days to reach the second Lagrange point of the earth-sun system, where it will in total observe six years to achieve all planned measurements.