24 April 2018
Waiting for Gaia's second data release Gaia is an ambitious mission of the European Space Agency which will make the largest and most precise 3-D map of our Galaxy by surveying about one billion stars. Which sounds like an awful lot of stars, but amounts to only 1 per cent of the Galaxy's stellar population. The Gaia spacecraft was launched on 19 December 2013 and the mission is planned to continue for 5 years, continually collecting data on the motion and characteristics of stars. The Gaia spacecraft is controlled from the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.