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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, (United States): Europe’s Euclid space telescope blasted off Saturday on the first-ever mission aiming to shed light on two of the universe’s greatest mysteries: dark energy and dark matter.

The telescope successfully took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:12 am local time (1512 GMT) on a Falcon 9 rocket from the US company SpaceX.

The European Space Agency was forced to turn to billionaire Elon Musk’s firm to launch the mission after Russia pulled its Soyuz rockets in response to sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

After a month-long journey through space, Euclid will join its fellow space telescope James Webb at a stable hovering spot around 1.5 million kilometers (more than 930,000 miles) from Earth called the second Lagrange Point.

From there, Euclid will chart the largest-ever map of the universe, encompassing up to two billion galaxies across more than a third of the sky.

By capturing light that has taken 10 billion years to reach Earth’s vicinity, the map will also offer a new view of the 13.8-billion-year-old universe’s history.

Scientists hope to use this information to address what the Euclid project manager Giuseppe Racca calls a “cosmic embarrassment”: that 95 percent of the universe remains unknown to humanity.

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