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ThePlanck Surveyor Satellite Project

The Planck Surveyor is an ESA satellite to be launched in the near future. The satellite will hover in the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, from where it will observe the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, a remnant of the Big Bang. By analyzing the CMB radiation, in particular its so-called “autocorrelation function”, astrophysicists may derive the value of important cosmological parameters such as the Hubble constant, which measures the speed of the expansion of our Universe, or the fraction of cold dark matter (CDM), which apparently dominates the mass-energy content of the Universe.

Figure: The Planck Surveyor satellite in an ESA assembly hall.

By exploiting the so-called Sunyayev-Zeldovich effect, the Planck satellite will also detect many distant galaxy clusters. Planck will also observe the indirect effects of the magnetic field in our own Galaxy, and of the enigmatic gravitational lenses.