(image credit: European Space Agency)

What would you do with a 940 megapixel camera? Launch it into space of course! That’s just what the European Space Agency did in December when it sent “Gaia” into orbit.

Gaia is a Milky Way-mapping telescope, designed to catalog as many as one billion stars in our big galactic subdivision during it’s five-year mission. That’s a lot of Kodachrome, kids. A super-selfie, if you will. It can also measure, velocity, mass, temperature, and chemical composition. This much data is going to give astrophysics a serious kick in the pants, whether it’s in regard to searching for other planets, studying supernovas, or further refining our understanding of relativity. The past 20 years has already seen an explosion of astronomical knowledge and stunning discoveries, and we’ll probably surpass that in the next 10.

Oh, it’ll also hunt for asteroids that could collide with Earth and cause you A Very Bad Day, so that’s useful.

The full story can be found here at The Conversation

Image credit  ESA/ATG medialab
Image credit ESA/ATG medialab